The White House and Republican senators are in talks about a bill that would give Congress more power to block emergency declarations from a president in the future.
Chances seem to be improving that President Donald Trump might avoid an expected rejection by Congress of his effort to divert more money to building barriers along the Mexican border. That would be enough to kill the resolution in the Senate, provided no other Republican senators oppose of Trump's declaration or alter their position.
President Trump gave a shout-out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday - for saying she does not support impeaching him - but he did not address her contention that he is unfit for office. Still, Congress would be highly unlikely to muster the two-thirds majorities needed to eventually override a veto.
Lee had introduced a second measure that would end future emergency declarations after 30 days unless Congress votes to extend them. Trump has been lobbying hard for Republicans to fall in line and vote to support his emergency declaration.
Trump tweets: "We have a MAJOR NATIONAL EMERGENCY at our Border and the People of our Country know it very well!"
In an attempt to stave off Senate passage - an embarrassing prospect for Trump - Republican senators have been pushing an alternative measure that would instead address concerns that Trump's powers under the National Emergencies Act are too broad.
"Republican Senators are proposing new legislation to allow the President to violate the Constitution just this once in order to give themselves cover", Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement.
Trump made his views known in a phone call with Lee, as the conservative senator lunched with fellow Republicans at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe it.
Schakowsky said, "We need to get rid of Donald Trump and I don't think impeaching in the House is going to do it and so we need to do it by the 2020 election". It would apply to future emergencies, not Trump's current border emergency. Another senior administration official said Pence heard the senators out and would take their arguments back to Trump.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a Trump ally who has signaled that he opposes the president on both the declaration and the war in Yemen, said it's "good for the country" that lawmakers are taking steps to reassert Congress' constitutional powers of the purse and the power to declare war.
Under a 1976 law, presidents have wide discretion in determining when a national emergency has occurred.
The strongest chance of blocking Trump's border emergency is likely several lawsuits filed by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others.