WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Wednesday that her chamber would not consider legislation being crafted in the Senate to rein in presidential emergency powers, characterizing it as an attempt to give President Donald Trump “a pass” on violating the Constitution.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday. Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

Pelosi’s warning comes ahead of a planned Senate vote on Thursday on a resolution passed by the House that would nullify Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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.

In a statement, Pelosi made clear that the Democrat-led House has no interest in that approach.

“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.”

Pelosi and other House Democrats have argued that Trump’s emergency declaration, which he is using as a way to spend more on barriers at the border than Congress has authorized, violates the Constitution.

Many Senate Republicans have started to align behind an alternative measure drafted by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that would amend the National Emergencies Act to say an emergency declaration would automatically expire after 30 days unless both chambers of Congress affirmatively vote to keep it.

Although four Republican senators have already announced they will vote to nullify the president’s emergency declaration, one of them – Sen. Thom Tillis, N.C., – publicly indicated Tuesday after a private meeting with Vice President Mike Pence that he could change his position if a version of Lee’s legislation is set to be passed.

That would be enough to kill the resolution in the Senate, provided no other Repubican senators oppose Trump’s declaration or alter their position.

In remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the measure crafted by Lee a “fig leaf.”

“Our Republican friends are saying with this fig leaf, ‘Grant me the courage to stand up President Trump, but not yet,'” Schumer said. “And next time and next time and next time, they’ll say the same thing. So let’s do the right thing. Let’s tell the president he cannot use his overreaching power to declare an emergency when he couldn’t get Congress to do what he wanted.”

The Washington Post’s Erica Werner and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

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