Thu. 11:04 a.m.: GOP senators appear ready to block Trump border declaration

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led Senate is set to deal President Donald Trump a rebuke on his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border, with the only remaining question how many GOP senators will join Democrats in defying him.

Republicans are predicting that today’s showdown vote will result in Congress sending Trump a resolution blocking the border emergency he proclaimed last month to steer an extra $3.6 billion to building border barriers.

Trump tweeted this morning, “If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!”

He also tweeted early this morning about “the big National Emergency vote today” in the Senate, saying, “I am prepared to veto, if necessary,” and called the situation at the border “a National Security and Humanitarian Nightmare.”

Since the Democratic-controlled House approved the measure last month, the Senate vote would force Trump to use a veto to protect his presidential campaign’s “Build the Wall” mantra over objections from his own party.

“It was called turn out the lights, the party’s over,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., recalling a favorite refrain of “Monday Night Football” announcers when a game was out of reach. “Well, that’s appropriate right now.”

Senate passage of the resolution was all but ordained Wednesday after the collapse of efforts by the White House and GOP senators to reach compromise on separate legislation by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, limiting presidents’ powers to declare emergencies in the future.

Republican lawmakers had hoped a deal on that measure would have helped more of them to back Trump’s border emergency in today’s vote. Instead, several Republicans are being boxed into a thorny dilemma: defy Trump and the conservative voters who back him passionately, or assent to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and dangerous expansion of presidential authority.

With Republicans controlling the Senate 53-47, just four GOP defections would be enough to approve the resolution canceling Trump’s border emergency.

Lee became the fifth Republican to say they’d back the resolution after Trump called him during a private lunch of GOP senators to say he opposed Lee’s compromise bill. The call was described by two officials who weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and described it on condition of anonymity.

Soon afterward, Lee issued a statement saying he’d support the resolution blocking the border emergency.

“Congress has been giving far too much legislative power to the executive branch,” Lee said. He said he’d vote to block Trump’s emergency because his own bill “does not have an immediate path forward.”

The other GOP senators who have said they will vote to block Trump’s border emergency are Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Kentucky’s Rand Paul.

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