Rand Paul to vote against Trump's national emergency declaration

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Democratic congressman calls for study of effects of sex-trafficking law McConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' MORE (R-Ky.) said that he will oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE's national emergency declaration to fund a wall along the southern border, as the Senate prepares to vote on a resolution to block it.

Paul, speaking at the Southern Kentucky Lincoln Day Dinner late Saturday, said that he couldn't "vote to give extra-constitutional powers to the president."

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“I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress. We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing," he said, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

Paul's stance makes him the crucial fourth Republican senator to support the resolution, marking a setback for the administration that would force Trump to use the first veto of his presidency.

 

He elaborated in a Fox News op-ed, published on Sunday evening, that he would vote for the resolution of disapproval when it gets a vote in the Senate.

"Every single Republican I know decried President Obama’s use of executive power to legislate. We were right then. But the only way to be an honest officeholder is to stand up for the same principles no matter who is in power," he added.

Paul added that Trump's decision to declare a national emergency to get funding beyond the $1.375 billion approved in a recent government funding bill "is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress." He added that if Trump was unsatisfied with the amount provided by lawmakers "his only constitutional recourse" would have been to veto the bill.

"I think the president’s own picks to the Supreme Court may rebuke him on this. Regardless, I must vote how my principles dictate. ... I think he’s wrong, not on policy, but in seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits," Paul wrote.

The Senate is expected to vote on a resolution blocking Trump's emergency declaration before leaving town for a weeklong recess set to begin on March 15.

Supporters of the resolution left Washington last Thursday on the brink of having enough votes to block the declaration and force a Trump veto. With all 47 senators who caucus with Democrats expected to support the resolution, they need to flip four Republicans to clinch the 51 votes needed in the Senate.

GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Giffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days MORE (Maine), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage North Carolina congressman says he won't seek reelection after redistricting Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 MORE (N.C.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days The Hill's Morning Report - Dem impeachment report highlights phone records MORE (Alaska) have already said they will vote for a resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration, which passed the House last week in a 245-182 vote, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats to support it.

Roughly a dozen other Republican senators remain on the fence about Trump's emergency declaration, meaning supporters could pick up several additional GOP "yes" votes before the resolution comes to the floor.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills Key negotiator says deal close on surprise medical bills legislation MORE (R-Tenn.), who is retiring at the end of the current Congress, urged Trump to back down from his emergency declaration, which he warned was creating a "constitutional crisis." But Alexander declined to say how he would vote on a resolution blocking Trump's action.

“I will announce how I’m going to vote when I know what we’re going to be voting on,” Alexander told reporters.

“I learned a long time ago in the United States Senate it’s not wise to announce how you’re going to vote on a vote you may never have to take,” he added.

Trump has said he will "100 percent" veto the resolution of disapproval if it reaches his desk. He also appeared to warn Republican senators who are thinking about opposing him, arguing that supporting the resolution would be a "very dangerous thing."

“I really think that Republicans that vote against border security and the wall, I think you know, I’ve been OK at predicting things, I think they put themselves at great jeopardy,” he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity last week.

GOP aides predicted that the resolution would likely get a vote next week, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Ky.) setting up four nominations on the floor this week.

Trump announced that he would declare a national emergency the day after Congress passed a government funding bill that included $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, well below the $5.7 billion that he requested. He’s hoping to pull together roughly $8 billion for the border wall by combining the emergency declaration, executive actions and the money from Congress.

— This report was updated at 1:06 p.m.