Senator Lamar Alexander of the Tennessee GOP said Thursday to President Trump that he should reconsider his decision to declare a national emergency on the southern border or face a possible Republican rebellion.
Alexander, who is retiring, refused to say he would join three other Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – voting against the statement.
The Senate being divided 53-47, including two independent members of the Dems caucus, the resolution would be defeated if a fourth Republican joined them.
But Trump has promised to veto any bill that would cancel his statement in response to what he calls a "crisis" on the Mexican border, and it seems unlikely that the House and Senate can amass the bills. two-thirds of the majorities needed to override a veto.
Alexander told the Senate that Trump had other ways to raise $ 5.7 billion for the border wall.
"He has sufficient funding without a national emergency, he can build a wall and avoid a dangerous precedent," Alexander told reporters.
"That would change the electoral situation if he agreed to do it."
In the meantime, a small group of bipartite senators planned to present a resolution on Thursday to block the declaration.
The proposal is identical to the one-sentence measure approved earlier this week by the Democratic-controlled House.
"It shows senators' support for the resolution, not just members of the House," said Collins.
The Senators' decision was the latest proof that a significant number of lawmakers did not fear a fight with Trump.
The clash puts some GOP lawmakers into an uncomfortable political crisis, with great reluctance to pit Trump against and anger his grassroots supporters.
But they are also concerned that the precedent his movement is creating for future Democratic presidents to declare emergencies for their own needs, and fear that the money he will allocate to building barriers will come from states of origin.
Other sponsors are Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, both Democrats, and Murkowski, the only one not to be re-elected next year.
Under a 1976 law, the resolution can not be systematically obstructed and only needs a simple majority of 51 votes to pass in the Senate.
The emergency would allow Trump to divert $ 3.6 billion currently intended for military construction projects to erect more border gates.
He is asking other authorities to transfer an additional $ 3.1 billion for construction.
In a law that put an end to the partial closure of the federal government for 35 days, Congress limited spending on barriers to just under $ 1.4 billion.
Several lawsuits have also been initiated with the aim of derailing the statement, which could at least prevent Trump from obtaining extra money for months or more.