Sen. Rand Paul announced at a dinner on Saturday that he plans to vote in favor of a measure in the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over border security. That means that the Senate now likely has enough votes to send the measure to Trump, who is expected to issue the first veto of his presidency.
The Bowling Green Daily News reported that the Kentucky senator, who has widely supported Trump on other issues, including Russian policy, commented at the Southern Kentucky Lincoln Day Dinner that, “I can’t vote to give extra-Constitutional powers to the president.”
“I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress,” Paul said, according to the newspaper. “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.”
Three other key Republicans previously indicated they would support the measure, bringing it to the number of votes needed to pass the Senate. Those Republicans are Sens. Susan Collins from Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, and Thom Tillis from North Carolina. Other Senate Republicans also are believed to support the measure, but have refrained from publicly acknowledging that position.
Earlier this week, House lawmakers passed their own resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration by a 245-182 vote. Thirteen Republicans joined the Democratic majority to pass the measure.
On Sunday, Rep. Justin Amash, from Michigan, one of the 13 Republicans who voted in favor of blocking Trump’s declaration, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Trump’s action violated the country’s separation of powers, regardless of which side of the aisle one sits on.
“I think there’s a fair debate that there are big problems on the border. Some people would call it a crisis. But that has to go through Congress. So, we have a legislative branch—Congress—that handles these issues, and the president doesn’t get to decide that he can override Congress simply because Congress doesn’t do what he wants,” Amash said.
“If there were an emergency in the sense that the president is describing, there would be a lot more consensus. When a house is on fire, nobody is debating whether they should go in to save people or whether they should put out the fire,” he added.
Because the House passed a privileged resolution, the Senate now has 18 days to vote on it, starting last Tuesday.
If it passes the Senate and Trump vetoes it, both chambers of Congress would need two-thirds of their members to override the veto. Currently, it appears that neither the House nor the Senate has enough votes to do so.
Trump reiterated on Thursday that he plans to veto the measure if it passes.