Sen. Rand Paul is the fourth Republican senator to support the Democratic Party in its effort to reject a national emergency on the border declared by President Trump, which all but assures the resolution will pass.
It will also almost certainly result in the first veto of Trump’s presidency.
With 53 GOP senators and 47 senators caucusing with the Democrats — Sens. Bernie Sanders, from Vermont, and Angus King, from Maine, are independents — four votes from across the aisle gives Democrats 51 votes.
Paul joins the usual suspects, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, along with Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. — if only these Republicans could locate their principles when it comes to doing something about our porous southern border.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WVa., who is known to oppose his party, told Fox News last week that he would support the resolution.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not set a firm date to vote on the national emergency disapproval bill, but Fox News pointed to mid-March, perhaps on March 14.
If the measure passes and Trump vetoes it, a veto override requires a two-thirds vote by both bodies of Congress. That’s 67 votes in the Senate and 285 votes in the House, based on the 427 members who voted to block the national emergency last week.
Meaning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will need a lot of weak-kneed Republicans to join arms with her.
Trump’s emergency declaration to enhance border security also faces legal challenges.
Holding up the U.S. Constitution, Paul explained his reasoning in an op-ed run by Fox News.
“I support President Trump. I supported his fight to get funding for the wall from Republicans and Democrats alike, and I share his view that we need more and better border security,” he libertarian-minded lawmaker wrote.
“However, I cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding, so I will be voting to disapprove of his declaration when it comes before the Senate.”
Pointing to his opposition to President Obama’s use of executive power to legislate, he said he is being consistent in his actions, adding that Trump’s declaration goes against the will of Congress.
At least, the Democratic side.
“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,” he said. “Therefore, President Trump’s emergency order is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress.”
Paul went on to say that Trump is “wrong, not on policy, but in seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits.”
The Kentucky lawmaker also predicted that the Supreme Court will likely strike down Trump‘s emergency declaration.
“Without question, the president’s order for more wall money contradicts the will of Congress and will, in all likelihood, be struck down by the Supreme Court,” he wrote.
“In fact, I think the president’s own picks to the Supreme Court may rebuke him on this.”
This being a reference to Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, of course.
The president did predict that he would win a legal challenge when he announced the national emergency.
“We will have a national emergency and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the 9th Circuit, even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully, we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win in the Supreme Court, just like the [travel] ban,” the president said at the time.
Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mark Levin, a constitutional scholar, turned to social media to slam Paul for his stance.
Phony constitutionalist Rand Paul. Pathetic,” Levin tweeted.
Phony constitutionalist Rand Paul. Pathetic. https://t.co/uRAE8yNadB
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) March 4, 2019
The vote appears to be a week or so off, so there’s always the possibility that Paul could still change his mind. His relevancy always gets a boost when he represents what could be the deciding vote. With a little media fanfare and attention from the White House, an epiphany is not out of the question.
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