House fails to override Trump veto of his border emergency

Mar 29, 2019, 00:15
House fails to override Trump veto of his border emergency

During Tuesday's vote, 234 House Democrats, joined by 14 Republicans, voted to override the president's first veto but fell short, shifting Trump's national emergency to face the courts.

House Democrats had hoped the strong showing of GOP support in the Senate might prompt more Republicans to support the veto override than had initially voted for the resolution.

But Republicans insisted Trump had acted legally under a 1976 law known as the National Emergencies Act, under which previous presidents had declared dozens of emergencies.

The fight over Trump's border emergency now lies in the courts, where Democrats and other progressive groups have filed a slew of lawsuits against his order.

"Establishing the intent of Congress will help us in the court of law and in the court of public opinion", Pelosi said last week at a news conference in NY.

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Pelosi said that Tuesday's vote could help Democrats' case in the long-term. The Senate vote was considered a more significant rebuke of the president, because almost a quarter of the Republican Conference supported the termination resolution. "He added that, "As president, the protection of the nation is my highest duty", and reiterated that there is "definitely a national emergency" at the border".

Tuesday's vote bolsters Trump's drive to build a wall along the boundary with Mexico, a hallmark of his 2016 presidential campaign and a priority of his presidency.

"Whether we can succeed with the number of votes is not the point", Pelosi said at an event in NY.

Since then, several Democrats have chided Trump, asserting that his move was in violation of the US Constitution. On top of the $3.6 billion from construction, the Pentagon has informed Congress that it wants to steer another $1 billion from personnel accounts to border barriers. That executive proclamation paved the way for the administration to spend billions of dollars to construct a barrier along the Southwest border between the USA and Mexico after Congress refused to approve the full amount the White House demanded previous year.

"The committee does not approve the proposed use of Department of Defense funds to construct additional physical barriers", the Washington Democrat wrote.

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Underscoring that, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi placed her name atop a House Democratic fundraising email referencing the failed veto override, writing, "I know grassroots Democrats won't let Trump's enablers get away with this".

The Democratic-controlled chamber has voted 248-181 in favor of overriding Trump's veto.

Mr Trump sought US$5.7 billion (S$7.7 billion) in wall funding this year.

The House easily passed the resolution of disapproval in February. On Tuesday, Trump opponents will need to reach 288 votes to prevail.

Just 13 Republicans opposed Trump in February, around 1 in 15. Thirteen Republicans voted for the resolution in the first place.

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The House seems sure to fall short of the two-thirds margin needed to override vetoes.