Donald Trump has lost a Republican ally in his bid to find border wall funding, and will likely have to issue his first veto to keep his plans on track.
Senator Rand Paul said this week that he will vote for a resolution denying Trump’s state of emergency regarding immigration, which Trump was using as a way to re-allocate funding to start building the border wall. Paul spoke at a political gathering in Kentucky on Saturday, saying he could not authorize giving “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 (via the Bowling Green Daily News).
“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.”
Donald Trump’s issuance of a state of emergency has drawn bipartisan criticism, with many calling it an overreach of his powers and a reaction to losing a legislative battle over border wall funding. But Trump has vowed to press on, saying he will veto any resolution that would seek to take away the use of emergency powers to build the border wall. It would be the first veto of his presidency.
By using the declaration of a national emergency, Donald Trump is able to divert $3.6 billion originally slated for military construction to begin building the border wall, which had been a chief promise from his 2016 campaign. Trump is using other powers to transfer another $3.1 billion to build the border wall, Fox News reported.
Rand Paul said he will vote in support of a resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration, giving the Senate a majority and forcing Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency. https://t.co/5olIz3X01C
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 3, 2019
There are already three other Republicans who have said they will vote against Trump’s use of a state of emergency. As Fox News noted, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska and Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., have all said they will break with Trump on the border wall funding.
With Rand Paul also voting no, there now appear to be 51 votes against the measure, making it likely to pass and make it to Trump’s desk.
Some Republicans have said they are fearful at the precedent it would set to issue a state of emergency after losing a legislative battle, warning that a subsequent Democratic president could issue a state of emergency to address issues like gun violence or climate change. Other critics on the left have noted that Trump said repeatedly during the 2016 campaign that he would make Mexico pay for the wall, and now is issuing a state of emergency to take it from taxpayer funds.