With the U.S. Senate planning to vote this week on a resolution condemning the emergency declaration that President Donald Trump has made in order to fund a U.S./Mexico border wall, the president is making it clear that he is “prepared to veto, if necessary.” Trump posted several border-related tweets on Thursday morning, claiming that “Republican senators are overthinking tomorrow’s vote on national emergency” and that Democrats “are for open borders and crime.” Regardless, some Republicans in Congress are speaking out against Trump’s emergency declaration—even if they are in favor of a border wall—and have argued that he is setting a terrible precedent. If Trump can declare an emergency in order to fund a border wall, they argue, what’s to stop a future Democratic president from declaring a national emergency on climate change or health care?
Here are some Republican senators who aren’t backing down when it comes to opposing Trump’s emergency declaration.
1. Sen. Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is often described as a “moderate,” but she’s only “moderate” compared to the extremists who now dominate the GOP. Collins has a very conservative voting record, supporting Trump on everything from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. But Trump’s emergency declaration is one area in which Collins isn’t afraid to part company with Trump, asserting that “the president, in my judgment, is usurping congressional authority.” Collins has maintained that it is up to the Senate and the House of Representatives to fund border security measures—not the president.
2. Sen. Rand Paul
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican with libertarian leanings, has made it clear that he will vote with Senate Democrats in opposing Trump’s emergency declaration. In a March 3 op-ed for Fox News’ website, Paul stressed, “I stand with the president often, and I do so with a loud voice” but asserted that he “cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding” and must “stand up for the Constitution, the rule of law and the system of checks and balances we have.” With the emergency declaration, Paul wrote, Trump is “seeking to expand the powers of the presidency beyond their constitutional limits.”
3. Sen. Thom Tillis
Trumpistas can be so severe and unwavering in their support for the president that even a Republican as hard-right as Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina is being threatened with a GOP primary challenge in 2020 for declaring his support for a resolution opposing Trump’s emergency declaration. Diane Parnell, who chairs the Rockingham County Republican Party in North Carolina, recently announced, “We’re not happy with the way Senator Tillis seems not to support the president. We’re looking to see who is coming to primary him.”
Regardless of such threats, Tillis has maintained that Trump’s emergency declaration is bad for Republicans, explaining, “As a U.S. senator, I cannot justify providing the executive with more ways to bypass Congress. As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms.”
4. Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Although Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has a generally conservative voting record, she has parted company with Trump on some key votes—for example, voting against Kavanaugh’s confirmation and against overturning the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare, in 2017. And the Alaska Republican is adamant in her opposition to Trump’s emergency declaration, which she said “would allow the president to basically go around the will and the intent of the Congress.” In an interview with PBS’ Judy Woodruff earlier this month, Murkowski explained, “When you use the National Emergencies Act to effectively expand executive powers by legislative acquiescence, I think that sets a dangerous precedent. And I don’t think that it’s a path that we should take.”