Senate talks collapse on avoiding Trump showdown over emergency declaration

Senate Republicans say talks to find a way to stop a House-passed resolution disapproving of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE’s emergency declaration over the southern border are collapsing amid Republican divisions over what some see as a breach of separation of powers. 

Senate Republicans said Wednesday afternoon that Trump will not support a proposal sponsored by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Five takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Utah) to reform the National Emergencies Act of 1976 and require Congress to approve future emergency declarations after 30 days. 

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“It’s my understanding the president won’t support it,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn On The Money: Trump, China announce 'Phase One' trade deal | Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records | House panel schedules hearing, vote on new NAFTA deal On The Money: Lawmakers strike spending deal | US, China reach limited trade deal ahead of tariff deadline | Lighthizer fails to quell GOP angst over new NAFTA MORE (R-Texas), a member of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSherrod Brown backs new North American trade deal: 'This will be the first trade agreement I've ever voted for' McConnell: Bevin pardons 'completely inappropriate' House panel to hold hearing, vote on Trump's new NAFTA proposal MORE’s (R-Ky.) leadership team, after meeting with colleagues at lunch to discuss the state of the talks.

Lee announced Trump’s position after taking a call from the president during the lunch meeting, according to a person familiar with the conversation. 

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) told reporters after Wednesday's meeting that it’s clear the disapproval resolution will pass.

“'Dandy' Don Meredith used to sing a song at the end of the game when the result was obvious. It was called turn out the lights the party’s over. Well, that’s appropriate right now,” he said, referring to the former NFL quarterback. 

“It’s time to vote, everybody knows how they’re going to vote. I don’t think the president’s going to win this one.” 

There was a flash of hope Tuesday that a deal could be worked out with the White House whereby Trump would promise to support legislation curbing his power to declare future national emergencies in exchange for Republicans defeating the disapproval resolution. 

But Trump decided against curbing his own presidential power, GOP senators said.

The disapproval resolution faces a certain Trump veto, and there’s not enough support in either the House or the Senate to override it. 

“This president, like any other president, is not going to give up power that Congress has given him in the past. It’s been there since the 1970s. Why would this president give it up?” said a Republican senator who requested anonymity to talk about internal discussions. 

The GOP senator said increasingly strained efforts by Republican colleagues to work out a deal to avoid passage of the disapproval resolution has “gotten to the point of being absurd.”

“I look at my colleagues and say, why would you expect a president to give up his power? Would President Obama have given it up? I don’t think so,” the lawmaker added. 

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTrump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Turf war derails push on surprise medical bills | Bill would tax e-cigarettes to pay for anti-vaping campaign | .5M ad blitz backs vulnerable Dems on drug prices Turf war derails bipartisan push on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Tenn.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Senate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal Senate passes Armenian genocide resolution MORE (R-Texas) are still pushing a proposal to pass an alternative resolution that would wall off the money available for Trump to redirect to building border barriers, said Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Tom Hanks weighs in on primary: 'Anybody can become president' GOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling MORE (R-Fla.), who discussed the idea earlier on Wednesday with colleagues. 

Alexander and Cruz want to limit Trump’s ability to redirect funding to a drug interdiction fund under the Department of Defense and an asset forfeiture fund under the Treasury Department, Rubio said. 

But that proposal has been on the table for “a while,” according to another senator, and has failed to generate much momentum.

Cruz declined to comment on Wednesday. 

“At this point I think it’s best to keep the conversations within the conference and directly with the administration,” he said. 

Jordain Carney contributed to this story.