Mitch McConnell: It's clear Senate will vote against President Trump's national emergency

Darcy Costello

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hoped President Donald Trump wouldn't declare a national emergency over border security, but said Monday that he was "obviously" unsuccessful in arguing against the move.

The Senate is likely to pass a resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration, McConnell told reporters in Louisville.

“I think what is clear in the Senate is there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president," he said. " And then, in all likelihood, the veto will be upheld in the House.”

McConnell said he had hoped Trump "would not take the national emergency route."

"Once you decide to do that, I said I would support it, but I was hoping he wouldn't take that particular path,"  he said.

The latest: Rand Paul says he'll vote to block Trump's emergency declaration

Asked by a Courier-Journal reporter whether he was concerned future Democratic presidents would use a similar tactic to fund issues like climate change or gun control, McConnell said he was. 

"That's one reason I argued — obviously without success — to the president that he not take this route," McConnell said. 

Trump declared a national emergency in February after Congress sent him a bipartisan funding bill that didn't include his $5.7 billion demand for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The emergency declaration allows him to free up billions from other sources to pay for the barrier, which he claims is necessary to reduce the flow of drugs and gang members into the country. 

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 245-182 in support of the resolution blocking Trump's declaration. Thirteen Republicans joined all Democrats in backing the measure. 

Over the weekend, fellow Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul indicated he will vote in favor of the resolution when it comes to the Senate, likely giving Senate opponents enough votes to send the resolution to Trump's desk. 

During a speech Saturday night in Bowling Green, Paul said he "can't vote to give extra-Constitutional powers to the president," 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," Paul said, as reported by the Bowling Green 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."

A spokeswoman for Paul, Kelsey Cooper, confirmed Monday the senator had made those comments.

Paul joins Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who have all said they'll vote against the national emergency declaration. 

Assuming all the Senate's 47 Democrats and their independent allies vote against Trump, opponents would have the 51 votes needed to pass.

McConnell spoke in Louisville Monday to announce that Trump had personally assured him that the new VA hospital in Louisville would get more than $400 million in his 2020 budget request to Congress. 

Contributing: Michael Collins in Washington

Darcy Costello: 502-582-4834; dcostello@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @dctello. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/darcyc.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Mitch McConnell: It's clear Senate will vote against President Trump's national emergency