Pelosi blocks vote on Utah Sen. Lee’s National Emergencies Act overhaul

Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Photo: Wikipedia

March 13 (UPI) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday said she would not bring to the floor proposed legislation to overhaul the National Emergencies Act, which could politically protect Republicans reluctant to vote against President Donald Trump’s national emergency at the border.

The legislation, proposed by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, on Tuesday, would make national emergency declarations by the president subject to congressional approval every 30 days. Lee said the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which gives the president power to declare emergencies without Congress, allows the executive to act “like a king.”

Lee’s so-called Article One Act could give political leverage to Republicans who believe the executive branch has too much power, but don’t want to cross Trump by voting in favor of a bill blocking his border emergency declaration.

Four Republican senators said they plan to vote to buck Trump’s emergency declaration and others are privately mulling their decision, but Politico reported Republicans are seeking Trump’s support for the Article One Act in exchange for voting against the disapproval vote on the border declaration.

Pelosi’s statement Wednesday, though, tells the Republican senators their efforts are moot because she won’t bring the Article One Act up for a vote in the House.

“Republican Senators are proposing new legislation to allow the President to violate the Constitution just this once in order to give themselves cover,” she said.

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

Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota said that even if Trump agreed to back the Article One Act, it likely wouldn’t prevent the disapproval resolution from passing.

Trump indicated he wasn’t considering the Republicans’ efforts at political leverage in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.

Republican Senators are overthinking tomorrow’s vote on National Emergency. It is very simply Border Security/No Crime – Should not be thought of any other way. We have a MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY at our Border and the People of our Country know it very well!” he said.

The disapproval resolution passed the House with a vote of 245-182 with the help of 13 Republicans. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will likely pass the resolution, but not by a big enough margin to avoid a veto by Trump. The resolution requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress to override a veto.

Trump declared the national emergency at the southern border in order to secure funds without congressional approval to build a border wall.

The Senate is require to vote on the resolution by Friday.

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