Sen. Rand Paul will vote to disapprove of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to secure billions for his border wall, this is going to clinch a bipartisan majority in opposition of the president’s move.
“I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress,” Paul (R-Ky.) said at an event in Kentucky on Saturday.
“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.”
Paul is now the fourth Republican senator to pledge to vote for the disapproval resolution when it comes up for a vote in the Senate this month. This means the resolution will pass if Trump doesn’t withdraw the emergency. The House passed the resolution on Tuesday, with 13 Republicans siding with Democrats. Trump has vowed to veto the resolution, which would be the first of his presidency. Both the House and Senate lack the votes to override the veto.
Paul was in opposition with Vice President Mike Pence over the matter at a party lunch last week, Republican senators said. Though both sides deemed it cordial afterward, Paul made an explicit case that his party was risking its claim to the political high ground on issues of constitutional consistency, and Pence pushed back against Paul’s complaints.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina also support the disapproval resolution.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said on CNN that it was a “specious argument” for the GOP to argue that a future Democratic president could use Trump’s precedent to declare emergencies for liberal priorities.
“I don’t think that the president doing this is going to end Western order,” Kennedy said. “The sun will come up the next morning. I do think he is probably rethinking the situation.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) disagreed sharply on the same program.
“The president is violating our constitutional system,” Amash said. “And I don’t think Congress can grant legislative powers to the president by statute.”
Whether Trump will face even more defections in the Senate is not clear, but Paul’s decision to become the deciding vote could free other senators to voice their opposition.