For once, the libertarian-leaning Republican Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has put his principles over his desire to serve as one of President Trump’s lapdogs.
Senator Paul announced today that he would join three other GOP colleagues — Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) — in voting for a bill blocking the president’s declaration of a national emergency to defy the will of Congress in denying him the funding for his ineffective border wall boondoggle.
“I can’t vote to give extraconstitutional powers to the President,” the Kentucky Republican said Saturday, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.
“I can’t vote to give the President the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress,” the senator said at a Republican Party fundraising dinner in Kentucky, 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.”
The move means that bill now presumably has enough votes to pass the Senate after cruising through the House of Representatives, thanks to the Democratic majority in that chamber.
The Senate likely now has enough votes to pass a measure blocking President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration after GOP Sen. Rand Paul signaled his support for the resolution of disapproval. https://t.co/BsQOPZBjo8 pic.twitter.com/L7GoZd779N
— CNN (@CNN) March 3, 2019
With a 100% probability that the passage of the bill will lead President Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency, the question becomes how many more Republicans in the Senate will vote to prevent Trump’s attack on the constitutional separation of powers between the different branches of government and whether that number will exceed the total needed to overcome a presidential veto.
Congressional rules specify that the Senate must vote on the House resolution within 18 days of it passing in the lower chamber, so we will know the final number of Republican defectors within the next two weeks. With the integrity of the powers of their own branch of government at stake, it will be interesting to see which Senators are willing to buck Trump to preserve the Constitution and which will continue to don the kneepads to worship at the altar of the presidential potency.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.