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Pelosi pledges to block Senate plan that could give GOP cover on Trump’s national emergency

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The House will not take up a Senate GOP bill that could give Republicans political cover as they vote on whether to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.

said in a statement Wednesday. “The House will not take up this legislation to give President Trump a pass.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, proposed a plan Tuesday to give Congress more power over presidential emergency declarations. Under the legislation, national emergencies would end after 30 days if Congress does not vote to extend it.

Lee has expressed concerns about executive overreach but so far not said whether he wants to terminate the emergency declared at the southern U.S. border. His bill would not affect Trump’s executive action.

“If Congress is troubled by recent emergency declarations made pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, they only have themselves to blame,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “Congress gave these legislative powers away in 1976 and it is far past time that we as an institution took them back.”

So far, Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have said they will vote to block the president’s emergency declaration. However, Tillis “appeared to be wavering” at a weekly Senate policy lunch on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.

Tillis’ support gave the resolution just enough votes to pass, even in a GOP-held chamber where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has backed the president’s declaration. A Tillis spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to comment on whether the senator is reconsidering his vote.

The White House has made a late push to stop the resolution from getting through the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence met with GOP senators Tuesday to try to find an alternative path. Trump has recently tried to pressure Republicans by framing the vote as one about border security rather than executive power.

The president has pledged to veto the bill. Neither the House nor Senate appear to have the two-thirds majority support needed to overcome his opposition.

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