By Lisa Mascaro for The Associated Press
One by one, the Republican senators floated their ideas. They were trying to find a way out of a seemingly impossible dilemma: how to support President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall without approving the national emergency declaration he invoked to build it.
And one by one, during a private lunchtime meeting that ran hot at times, they found no easy answers.
As a deadline for voting looms, it’s increasingly clear that Republican senators are deeply uncomfortable with Trump’s use of executive power to build the wall and desperate to devise a way around the vote.
Senators know whatever they decide will make history. It’s the first time Congress is voting to terminate a national emergency. Even if Trump vetoes the measure, as expected, it will set precedent for other money grabs by future occupants of the White House.
This is why they tried to talk Trump out of invoking national emergency powers and why they’re now in a no-win situation as they prepare to vote.
“People are caught between the need for border security — and agreeing with what the president’s trying to do — but not how he’s trying to do it,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the senior-most Republican senator.