House Democrats are planning to file a resolution Friday to block President Trump's emergency declaration to secure more funding for a southern border wall, although the resolution faces questionable odds in the GOP-led Senate and the virtually certain prospect of a White House veto that would be nearly impossible for Congress to overcome.
The full House is expected to vote on the measure by mid-March, if not sooner. Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told ABC News this weekend that he believes there are enough GOP votes in Congress to prevent the two-thirds supermajorities required to overcome a veto in both the House and the Senate.
"I think there are plenty of votes in the House to make sure that there's no override of the president's veto," he said. "So it's going to be settled in court, we'll have to wait and see."
The brewing legislative fight comes as the attorneys general of California, New York and 14 other states on Monday filed a lawsuit in the liberal Ninth Circuit against the White House's emergency declaration, claiming Trump has "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."
Trump mockingly predicted the lawsuit at the White House last week, saying the Ninth Circuit would predictably issue an injunction in a "bad ruling," only for the Supreme Court to hand him a "win" after a "fair hearing." That path, the president said, that has become all too familiar in the wake of similar reversals on his travel ban and other initiatives.
The White House has also fired back at the lawsuit on the merits, saying the National Emergencies Act includes provisions for Congress to file resolutions disputing the president's reallocation of funds previously appropriated for general military purposes by Congress.
But Democrats were making clear they didn't want to leave the matter exclusively to the courts. Aides to Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, were circulating a letter Wednesday to other congressional offices seeking additional co-sponsors to his one-page resolution trying to block the declaration. "We are planning to introduce it on Friday morning," said the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Castro's measure, which described Trump's emergency declaration, says it "is hereby terminated." Castro chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The plan for introducing the resolution was initially described by officials at three progressive groups who heard of them from congressional aides but were not authorized to discuss the plans privately.
Congress approved a vast spending bill last week providing nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of border barriers in Texas' Rio Grande Valley while preventing a renewed government shutdown. That measure represented a rejection of Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to construct more than 200 miles.
Besides signing the bill, Trump also declared a national emergency that he says gives him access to an additional $6.6 billion that would be taken from a federal asset forfeiture fund, Defense Department anti-drug efforts and military construction projects.
Democrats and some Republicans say there is no emergency at the border and say Trump is improperly declaring one to work around Congress' rejection of the higher amounts.
Top White House adviser Stephen Miller, however, defended the emergency declaration in an exclusive interview with "Fox News Sunday" this weekend.
Miller, asked by anchor Chris Wallace why a wall is necessary if most drugs are caught at ports of entry, said the government statistics on the matter are misleading and easily misinterpreted.
"The problem with the statement that you're 'apprehending 80 or 90 percent of drugs at ports of entry' -- that's like saying you apprehend most contraband at TSA checkpoints at airports," Miller said. "You apprehend the contraband there because that's where you have the people, the screeners. I assure you if we had screeners of that same density across every single inch and mile of the southern border, you'd have more drugs interdicted in those areas."
Miller added that the reason why four times as many illegal immigrants were stopped at the border in 2000 as compared to 2018 is that now, illegal immigrants are much harder to detain due to laxer asylum and immigration laws.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.