Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted Monday that a resolution seeking to block President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S. -Mexico border would pass in the Republican-led Senate but ultimately not survive a veto. They don't want to break away from Trump on border security but they also worry about precedent it sets, especially when a Democrat takes the White House. "If we take away those checks and balances, it's a risky thing", he added.
The Kentucky lawmaker, who traditionally has strong libertarian leanings, said he must stand on his principles, giving his allegiance to the Constitution first, even if that means blocking political ambitions he supports. Senator Paul, along with Senators Thom Tillis (R-Tenn.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) also announced they could not support President Trump's national emergency declaration.
Mr. Trump declared an emergency so that he could shift federal funds and build his U.S. -Mexico border wall after Congress didn't give him the amount he wanted. At the same time, he signed an emergency declaration to shift $3.5 billion from military construction accounts to the border wall. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced over the weekend that he would vote for it.
McConnell told reporters that he had hoped Trump "wouldn't take that particular path" of declaring a national emergency. Hazard my committee standings and show vote opportunities just to temporarily beat back a piece of executive overreach that most of my voters likely support?
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A resolution that would terminate Trump's declaration was passed in the House on February 26 by a vote of 245-182 and with Paul's vote and several other Republican defections, could pass in the Senate. "There has never been an instance where a president has asked for funding, Congress refused it, and the president then used the National Emergencies Act to justify spending the money anyway".
"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. And the president doesn't get to decide that he can override Congress simply because Congress doesn't do what he wants".
The President and his administration have argued that there's a "crisis" on the southern border, claiming there's an "invasion" of drugs and undocumented immigrants. "Therefore, President Trump's emergency order is clearly in opposition to the will of Congress", said Paul. And while the courts may, it puts on record every Member of Congress, and weakens Trump.