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Congress poised to reject Trump border emergency

Congress is poised to block President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE's national emergency declaration, paving the way for the first veto showdown with Trump's White House.

The collision course was set when Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate confirms Rouse as Biden's top economist Overnight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee MORE (Ky.) became the fourth GOP senator to say he would vote against Trump's declaration to fund the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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Paul, speaking in Kentucky over the weekend, said he couldn't support giving a president "extra-constitutional powers."

“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 is the crucial fourth Republican vote needed to pass a resolution blocking Trump's declaration in the Senate, an embarrassing setback that would force the president to use his first veto of his White House tenure.

Trump's emergency declaration has left Republicans in an untenable political bind.

GOP senators have been wary of breaking with the president on border security and the wall, which remain a potent political force among the party's base. But they also worry that his decision will set up a legal precedent that future Democratic presidents will use to ram through progressive proposals on topics such as climate change.

Supporters of the resolution are trying to move the decision on how to vote away from Trump and toward a broader question about separation of powers.

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“This is not an issue about whether you’re for the wall or you’re against the wall, or whether you like President Trump or you don’t like President Trump, this is an issue about Congress’s constitutional authority to determine spending. It’s Article I,” said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill MORE (R-Maine).

Collins and GOP Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiMurkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate GOP whip: Murkowski's vote on Tanden is 'fluid' at the moment MORE (Alaska) and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisMcConnell backs Garland for attorney general GOP senators demand probe into Cuomo's handling of nursing home deaths CNN anchor confronts GOP chairman over senator's vote to convict Trump MORE (N.C.) have already said they will support the resolution of disapproval to block Trump's emergency declaration.

Collins added that she's had talks with "many" Republican senators who "are very uneasy about the precedent that the president's action establishes and who were critical of similar actions that were taken by President Obama."

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.

The House passed the resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration last week in a 245-182 vote, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats to support it.

The Senate will vote on the resolution before they leave town for a weeklong break starting on March 15. GOP aides predicted the vote would occur next week, with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) teeing up a slate of nominations for the Senate floor this week.

Roughly a dozen Republican senators remain undecided about the resolution, paving the way for supporters to potentially pick up more GOP "yes" votes.

GOP 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 (Tenn.) used a closely watched Senate floor speech to urge the president to back down from his emergency declaration. 

“There is time for the president’s lawyers to take another look and determine whether we can both build the 234 miles of border wall that the president has requested and avoid this dangerous precedent,” Alexander said.

Republicans have been looking for ways out of the fight with Trump, including talk of trying to amend the resolution to make it more palatable to their caucus and the president.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPadilla has 'big Chuck Taylors to fill' in replacing Harris Partisan headwinds threaten Capitol riot commission Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, declined to say how he would vote, saying that he wanted to see what other "options" Republicans may have.

But Republicans have acknowledged that the president will likely need to use his first veto if he's going to win the political fight with Congress.

An attempt to override the president's veto is expected to fail in the House, where the initial vote fell short of the two-thirds that would be needed.

"My guess is there would probably be enough votes in the Senate to pass the disapproval," said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBottom line This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Senate mulls changes to .9 trillion coronavirus bill MORE (R-Texas).

Trump has pledged that he will veto the resolution of disapproval if it gets to his desk and appeared to send a recent warning shot to Republicans thinking of voting against him.

He characterized a vote for the resolution to block his emergency declaration as a “very dangerous thing” because it would undercut border security.

“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.