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Rand Paul to vote against Trump's national emergency declaration

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (R-Ky.) said that he will oppose President TrumpDonald TrumpClinton, Bush, Obama reflect on peaceful transition of power on Biden's Inauguration Day Arizona Republican's brothers say he is 'at least partially to blame' for Capitol violence Biden reverses Trump's freeze on .4 billion in funds 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 CollinsGOP senators praise Biden's inauguration speech LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing The Memo: Biden prepares for sea of challenges MORE (Maine), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSchumer becomes new Senate majority leader Democrats see Georgia as model for success across South McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time MORE (N.C.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMcConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism GOP senators praise Biden's inauguration speech Biden urges Americans to join together in appeal for unity 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes 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 McConnellBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear McConnell faces conservative backlash over Trump criticism 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.