Rand Paul to vote against Trump's national emergency declaration

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Lawyer: Flynn will keep cooperating after co-conspirator revelations MORE (R-Ky.) said that he will oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA 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 put on the back foot by Trump's race storm GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist Fox personalities blast Trump's remarks MORE (Maine), Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?' Republicans make U-turn on health care MORE (N.C.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist Fox personalities blast Trump's remarks Schumer blisters Republicans over response to Trump tweets: 'Where are you?' 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 AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Republicans make U-turn on health care Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA —Biden unveils health care plan | Proposal pitches subsidies, public option | Biden vows if you like your health insurance, 'you can keep it' | Sanders protests planned Philadelphia hospital closure 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.