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Rand Paul Becomes 4th Republican to Oppose Trump Emergency Declaration

FILE - Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., answers reporters' questions during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has become the fourth Republican to vow to oppose President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern U.S. border, likely giving the Senate enough votes to pass a resolution blocking it.

"I can't vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn't been appropriated by Congress,'' Paul told guests at a GOP dinner at Western Kentucky University, according to the Bowling Green Daily News.

Paul joins Republicans senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina in his opposition. If all 47 Senate Democrats vote as expected, the Senate has enough votes to pass a resolution with 51 votes.

Thirteen Republicans in the House joined Democrats last week to pass a resolution to block Trump's emergency declaration. If it passes the Senate, the resolution will go to the president, who has promised to veto it.

Neither chamber has enough votes to overturn a veto by Trump -- two-thirds of each chamber is needed to overturn a veto.

Trump made the declaration in February after Congress approved just $1.375 billion for border security, far short of the $5.7 billion he had sought.

He plans to divert about $6.2 billion to build his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is seeking to use $3.6 billion from military construction, $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug interdiction program, and $600 million from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture program, in addition to the money from Congress.

"We're being invaded by drugs, by people, by criminals, and we have to stop it,"Trump has said in justifying the action.

While some Republicans support the action, others have rejected it.

"What we see happening along the border – the amount of drugs, the amount of deaths in America, the human trafficking that's coming across, the overwhelming problem there. So the president has the authority to do it," Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy said.

But Senator Collins calls the president's move "ill-advised precisely because it attempts to shortcut the process of checks and balances by usurping Congress' authority."

VOA's Michael Bowman contributed to this report.