Give Sen. Marco Rubio credit for standing up to President Donald Trump and for the U.S. Constitution. Rubio was one of a dozen Republican senators who voted with Democrats Thursday to block the president’s unnecessary declaration of a national emergency in an attempt to fund his border wall. Regardless of Trump’s veto Friday, the Senate vote was a clear statement against presidential overreach.
Rubio said in a statement that he supports the border wall sought by Trump but that he “cannot support moving funds that Congress explicitly appropriated for construction and upgrades of our military bases.’’ The president has said he would shift $3.6 billion in defense money to help pay for his border wall, which could affect much more useful projects already planned for MacDill Air Force Base and other military installations in Florida. Rubio acted in the best interest of his constituents.
The 12 Republicans who voted for the measure also acted in the best interest of Congress and in defense of its constitutional authority. Congress has the power to authorize expenditures. It already has rejected spending money on Trump’s border wall, and it has appropriated the defense money. The president should not be able to circumvent Congress in this situation by declaring a national emergency.
Republican Sen. Rick Scott, who did not build relationships with state legislators as governor, predictably voted against the measure and embraced executive overreach. Rubio voted appropriately to reassert the authority of Congress.