Washington, DC, United States (VOA) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to make it harder for Republicans to avoid an embarrassing Senate rebuff of President Donald Trump’s effort to steer billions of extra federal dollars to building barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border by declaring a national emergency.
As the White House and GOP senators sought a compromise on curbing a president’s power to unilaterally declare such emergencies in the future, Pelosi said Wednesday that the House would not take up that legislation if it passed the Senate.
GOP senators are hoping that if Trump endorses that bill, more Republicans would oppose a separate resolution, set for a vote Thursday, that would block the border emergency he proclaimed last month.
If Trump’s border emergency stands, he could divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects to build border barriers, even though Congress had voted to limit him to less than $1.4 billion for such construction.
Pelosi’s move seemed aimed at persuading GOP senators wavering over the resolution disapproving Trump’s border emergency that they would get no political protection by supporting the bill curbing future emergencies because it will never become law.
“Republican Senators are proposing new legislation to allow the President to violate the Constitution just this once in order to give themselves cover,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass.”
It has long looked like the Republican-run Senate would join the Democratic-led House in voting to block Trump’s border emergency. That would set up the first veto of Trump’s presidency.
But there have been signs that opposition by a few GOP mavericks is softening. Some Republicans think Trump went too far in declaring an emergency, but they also are eager to avoid defying a president popular with conservative voters.
An administration official said Wednesday that the White House is skeptical there will be enough votes to head off a Senate defeat Thursday and is reluctant to back limits on future declarations unless a victory on the resolution is assured. The official was not authorized to publicly private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
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