Senate Democrats likely now have enough votes to block President Donald Trump’s call for a national emergency, after Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that he could not support using emergency powers to get funding for Trump’s border wall.
“Congress clearly expressed its will not to spend more than $1.3 billion and to restrict how much of that money could go to barriers. Therefore, President Trump’s emergency order is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress,” Paul wrote in an op-ed published on Fox News. “Moreover, the broad principle of separation of powers in the Constitution delegates the power of the purse to Congress. This turns that principle on its head.”
Paul stressed that he did not disagree with Trump on policy but rather in what he called Trump’s “seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits.” Paul also compared Trump’s actions to President Barack Obama’s use of executive power, and said he plans to stand up for the Constitution no matter the party of the president.
“I would literally lose my political soul if I decided to treat President Trump different than President Obama,” he wrote.
In February, when Trump signed a spending bill to reopen the government, he also announced that he would declare a national emergency in order to tap into $8 million of funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a key campaign promise Trump repeatedly insisted Mexico would pay for. The measure to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, which is known as a resolution of disapproval, passed the Democrat-controlled House on Tuesday, aided by 13 Republican votes.
Democrats in the Senate need four Republicans to join them in order to pass the measure, which is set to be voted on in the coming weeks. Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins, Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski and North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis have all suggested that they plan to do so; if that happens, Trump will be forced to veto the resolution.
Overriding his veto would require two-thirds of Congress, which is a near-impossibility on the highly divided Capitol Hill.
On Saturday, Paul also indicated that he planned to vote for the resolution, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.
“We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it,” Paul told the crowd at a Republican fundraiser. “If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing.”
Cover: In this Nov. 5, 2018 file photo, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at a Republican Party rally at Highland Stables in Bowling Green, Ky. (Bac Totrong/Daily News via AP, File)