Democrats Unable to Override Trump's Veto in the Fight over Border Emergency Declaration
President Donald Trump’s biggest 2016 election campaign promise to the American people was that he would build a wall between the US and Mexico. On February 15, the president declared a national emergency after Congress refused his requests for $5.7bn for the wall.
On Tuesday, House Democrats failed to override Trump’s first veto allowing it to stand.
President Donald Trump had vetoed a measure to cancel the emergency declaration in a fight against Democrats. Instead of blocking him, the House voted 248-181 in favor of not overriding.
The outcome was 38 votes short of the two-thirds majority it needed and only 14 Republicans voted in favor of the veto override. It means Trump will be able to move forward with his plan to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.
His declaration was intended to allow him to shift budget funds to address dire situations. Trump plans on moving an additional $3.6 billion from military construction projects to work on border barriers.
This year, Congress voted to limit spending on such barriers to less than $1.4 billion. Democrats also accused the president of ignoring lawmakers' constitutional control over spending.
On Twitter, Trump proudly called the win a "BIG WIN today on the border." The most opposition that the president got over his declaration was from congressional Democrats and some Republicans, especially in the Senate.
Shortly after the voting was done, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, gave a joint statement saying:
“Both chambers of Congress – a Democratic House and a Republican Senate – resoundingly rejected the President’s sham emergency declaration by passing H.J.Res.46."
"The President’s lawless emergency declaration clearly violates the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, and Congress will work through the appropriations and defense authorization processes to terminate this dangerous action and restore our constitutional system of balance of powers."
Republicans argued that the president had merely exercised the 1976 law that allowed him to declare national emergencies. His declaration was the 60th presidential emergency under that statute.
Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said the president was acting against the "radical left in this House that would dissolve our borders entirely if given the chance." However, this wasn’t a stance that any Democrat has taken.
Rep. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., called the veto override effort "a partisan whack job" because of its expected defeat. However, even though Trump still holds the veto, he might not be able to get the ball rolling with the wall because of lawsuits that might take years to resolve.
Late on Monday, the Pentagon notified Congress that it had authorized the transfer of up to $1 billion to erect a fence by the border.
On March 14, the Senate rebuked Trump by overturning his national emergency border declaration. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats to vote 59-41against the declaration leading him to issue a veto.