House Leaders Work to Contain Defections on Trump's Urgency


House leader Kevin McCarthy, minority whip Steve Scalise, representatives Tom Cole and representative Liz Cheney.

Republican House leaders – including representatives Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Liz Cheney and Tom Cole – are confident that the Democrats will not live up to the more than 50 GOP votes they would need for a veto override . | Puce Somodevilla / Getty Images

House Republicans are striving to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration until less than a dozen Tuesday.

White House and GOP leaders have launched a last-minute campaign to limit the losses during a House vote to prevent Trump from bypassing Congress to build a border wall, with the goal of eliminating the need for money. avoid a humiliating defeat for the president, according to several Republican sources. .

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Until now, only one Republican – the libertarian representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) – has backed a democratic measure aimed at overturning Trump's national emergency declaration.

There is little doubt that the resolution will be easily adopted by the House. Instead, the question is whether at least four GOP senators will create a bipartisan majority and help deliver the president's biggest blame since the Democrats returned to the House last fall.

The House vote on Tuesday could help set the tone for the Senate by offering political coverage to Republican senators who have publicly worried about Trump's decision to get billions of dollars without congressional approval.

According to two sources, Democrats in the House believe they could win the support of five to ten Republicans in the much anticipated early polls, far less than dozens of House Republicans who have expressed skepticism at the idea of ​​the latter. month.

In an effort to bring GOP supporters together, the Democrats distributed a spreadsheet of hundreds of military construction projects that the White House could potentially raise for its border project. The document shows that billions of dollars are at stake in the Red States of Alaska to Georgia and Texas.

The pressure has increased. Pentagon officials traveled to Capitol Hill on Friday to inform key defense spending officials on both sides that the government could divert $ 3.6 billion from military projects to the border.

So far, Amash is the only Republican in the House to have publicly declared his support for the resolution, although dozens of others – including libertarians, defense hawks and appropriators – are wary of tactics. of Trump.

However, the skepticism of the Greek people may not result in a vote in favor of the Democrat measure, especially because Trump vowed to veto it. And Republican House leaders are convinced that the Democrats will not live up to the 50 Republican votes they need to overcome.

Representative Mike Turner (R-Ohio), along with four other Republicans in the House, sent a letter to Trump earlier this month, asking him to look for money elsewhere.

Turner – a defense hawk whose state could lose up to $ 90 million in military construction funds – said Trump's move would be a "dangerous precedent". Still, he did not say he would support the Democratic resolution.

On Monday, Trump began to press public pressure on his own party, warning Republicans not to fall into the "trap" of democracy.

"I hope that our great Republican Senators will not be directed to a weak and ineffective border security," Trump said on Twitter.

The White House's Legislative Affairs team also presented its case to Republican lawmakers this weekend and Monday, according to a White House official.

Leaders have made outreach efforts to provide "as much information as possible" and plan to take a more focused approach after learning which GOP members are considering voting for the measure.

By the way, the House minority whip, Steve Scalise, sent explanations to the GOP caucus on Monday that there were already 31 national emergencies in effect and that Trump was specifically working to deal with a "crisis". humanitarian and security ".

"Instead of working with the president to secure the border and protect the public, the Democrats have chosen to continue to play politics," the GOP whip's office said.

Scalise and his whip team will officially start counting votes Monday night.

The White House is considering a total of $ 8 billion in cash at the border, which would also include $ 2.5 billion from a drug rehab program for the Pentagon, as well as $ 600 million from from a confiscation fund of the Treasury Department.

Since Trump's announcement earlier this month, groups of former national security officials and former members of the GOP Congress have also voiced their opposition to this initiative.

John Bresnahan contributed to this report.

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