Given Trump's threat to veto the legislation, it is unlikely to become law. It also left Republican senators facing a painful choice: defy a president who commands passionate loyalty from conservative voters or acquiesce to what many lawmakers from both parties consider a dubious and unsafe expansion of presidential authority. But it could force Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency - and could mark a rare occasion where a significant number of Senate Republicans are willing to go on record to vote against Trump. John Kennedy, R-La., recalling a favorite refrain of Monday Night Football announcers when a game was out of reach.
"Lee said he talked to the president and the president's now not supportive of what he wants", said one GOP senator.
"There's been numerous efforts to engage with the vice president and the president, and the president's not persuaded that he should support it right now", said Sen. "I think it's ludicrous to think about impeaching the president". In the 100-seat Senate, votes from at least four Republicans are needed to pass the measure, along with all 45 Democrats and two independents.
He added, "For decades, Congress has been giving far too much legislative power to the executive branch". Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky - somewhere between seven and 15 Republicans remain conflicted on the disapproval resolution, according to a senior Republican aide familiar with the discussions. Tillis faces a potentially tough re-election fight next year.
GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and others are trying to work out a compromise with the White House over future emergencies.
U.S. orders Germany to dump Huawei
The year ended with the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer in Canada at U.S. request, to the consternation of China. Germany's potential use of Huawei in its 5G rollout is a sticking point for the US.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who'd crafted the face-saving resolution, told senators that Trump was refusing to accept his plan on Wednesday afternoon, two sources who were present for the conversation told TPM. The official was not authorized to publicly private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity. Framing Thursday's vote that way seemed to be a message all but aimed directly at undecided GOP senators facing re-election races next year, of whom there are several. That vote could well occur after Congress returns from a recess later this month.
The White House is privately negotiating with Senate Republicans who want to rein in the emergency powers of President Trump and his successors - which could lead to the surprise defeat of a Democratic resolution rejecting Trump's emergency declaration at the border. "Legally I don't think it's something that can ever be 100 percent off the table, but if that's how she feels right now I respect that". That would give Republicans who are uneasy about the constitutionality of the February 15 declaration - yet nervous about publicly rebuking Trump - some political cover to side with the president.
"Our Republican friends are saying with this fig leaf, 'Grant me the courage to stand up to President Trump, but not yet, '" Schumer said. "Let's tell the president he cannot use his overreaching power to declare an emergency when he couldn't get Congress to do what he wanted".
"If Congress is troubled by recent emergency declarations made pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, they only have themselves to blame", said a statement from Lee.