Senate to rebuke Trump on wall

The GOP-controlled Senate is poised to pass a Democratic resolution Thursday blocking President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Gov. Ron DeSantis more popular in Florida than Trump Sotomayor accuses Supreme Court of bias in favor of Trump administration MORE’s declaration of a national emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border. 

Talks within the GOP conference to avoid an embarrassing rebuke for Trump collapsed Wednesday, and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (Utah) joined four fellow Republican senators who have already said they will back the measure. 

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Many more are expected to vote against Trump on Thursday. Members of both parties believe he went too far in declaring an emergency to secure funding for a wall that he could not win through the appropriations process — or an extended government shutdown that was a black eye for the Republican Party. 

The House has already approved the resolution, meaning Trump will be forced to use his veto power for the first time. 

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe new American center Democratic Senate campaign arm raised more than .5 million in January On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump budget includes proposal for US Consulate in Greenland Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Alaska), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Campaign Report: What to watch for in Nevada Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate MORE (N.C.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Pelosi names first-ever House whistleblower ombudsman director The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Ky.) have said they will back the measure. Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioCheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight Peace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela MORE (Fla.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPaul Ryan says he disagrees with Romney's impeachment vote Progressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory Texas woman sentenced for illegal voting faces deportation after parole MORE (Utah), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in MORE (Tenn.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonProgressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa Overnight Health Care: Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by T | Trump proposes removing FDA authority over tobacco | Lawmakers frustrated by lack of emergency funds for coronavirus Anti-abortion group backs Loeffler's election campaign after opposing her Senate appointment MORE (Ga.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonWhistleblower retaliation: Stop confusing unlawful attacks with politics Congress looks to strengthen hand in State Department following impeachment Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony MORE (Wis.), Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseOvernight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Behind the scenes of McConnell's impeachment drama MORE (Neb.) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (Kan.) are among the Republicans who could join them. 

Republicans control 53 seats in the chamber, and Democrats are set to back the resolution unanimously. A GOP aide said the high-water mark for votes against Trump is likely 12 Republicans and 59 senators overall. 

A senior Senate GOP aide confirmed the vote will happen Thursday, although a precise time was not locked in by Wednesday afternoon. 

Lawmakers opposed to Trump’s use of the emergency declaration seem unable to meet the two-thirds majority vote in either chamber to overturn his veto, but a big vote in the Senate would at least put opponents in striking range. 

Tillis and Lee were in talks with Vice President Pence on Tuesday to try to find a compromise that would allow them to vote against the resolution of disapproval, but those talks collapsed on Wednesday. 

“We tried to cut a deal, the president didn’t appear interested,” Lee told The Hill. “I’ll be voting ‘yes.’ ”

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The president called Lee during a lunch meeting of the Senate GOP conference to announce that he would not endorse Lee’s bill to require Congress to approve future emergencies. 

Republican senators said Trump’s opposition to reining in his emergency powers effectively blew up any chance of coming up with a strategy to defeat the disapproval resolution. 

“ ‘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,” Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) told reporters after Trump’s position became known. 

“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,” he added.

Trump, who is using the emergency declaration to access billions of dollars to build the wall, including $3.6 billion in military construction funds, warned Republicans on Wednesday that defectors are making a political mistake. 

“This is a vote on border security and it’s a vote on drugs and trafficking and all of that. And I think most Republican senators fully understand that,” Trump told reporters. 

Trump says senators can vote their conscience but should proceed carefully.

“I said use your own discretion. But I think it’s a bad vote if they go against — I think anybody going against border security, drug trafficking, human trafficking, that’s a bad vote,” he said.

Republican senators say there are still some negotiations happening over what time the vote should happen and whether the resolution should be subject to amendments. 

“There’s been discussion about potential amendments, and that was part of what was discussed, but there’s no decision made,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynOcasio-Cortez announces slate of all-female congressional endorsements Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan warnings Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony MORE (R-Texas). 

Thursday’s vote will be the second time in two days the GOP-controlled Senate has broken with Trump.

The chamber voted Wednesday to withdraw U.S. support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting against Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war. It passed a similar resolution in December. That legislation must still pass the House.

Rubio said Wednesday that Trump’s declaration is troubling because it would take away money Congress appropriated for military construction projects.

“It’s money that Congress specifically appropriated for purposes of construction on military facilities. You could make an argument that it’s legal under the statute, but it stretches it and that’s what people are uncomfortable with,” he said. 

Rubio said there’s discussion about an alternative resolution sponsored by Alexander and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPompeo to speak to influential conservative group in Iowa Top National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Ted Cruz takes aim at Alabama vasectomy bill: 'Yikes' MORE (R-Texas) that would limit Trump’s ability to redirect funding to two pockets of money.

Another GOP lawmaker, however, said that proposal has been on the table for days and failed to generate much support in the conference. 

“It’s gotten to the point of being absurd,” the senator said of the increasingly frantic efforts to find a way to avoid voting for the disapproval resolution. 

Alexander, a Senate institutionalist who is retiring in 2020, has led the criticism of Trump’s action. 

He called the emergency declaration “unnecessary, unwise and inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.”

Alexander and other Republicans say that a future Democratic president could use Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to tear down the border wall, to close coal plants or to require all Americans to receive health coverage under Medicare instead of from private employers. 

Jordain Carney contributed.