House Fails to Overrule Trump’s Veto, Border Emergency Continues

Spencer Underwood
March 27, 2019

President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S. -Mexico border survived a critical vote in the House on Tuesday (March 26), as Democrats failed to muster the necessary two-thirds majority to override his veto.

The vote was 248-181, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed.

"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 unsafe action and restore our constitutional system of balance of powers", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Hispanic Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro said in a joint statement. The vote kills Democrats' legislative effort to rein in Trump's plan to fund a wall on the border with Mexico, and it demonstrates the president's enduring influence over GOP lawmakers.

Yet the vote also gave Democrats a way to refocus on policy differences with Trump, days after Attorney General William Barr gave the president a political boost by saying special counsel Robert Mueller had concluded that Trump had not colluded with Russian Federation to influence his election.

Trump supporters said he was simply acting under a 1976 law that lets presidents declare national emergencies.

Democrats argued the Republican president had overstepped his authority by going around Congress, because the legislature has the power to control spending under the U.S. Constitution.

The House easily passed the resolution of disapproval in February.

The House of Representatives failed to garner enough votes to override President Trump's veto of the resolution crafted to terminate his national emergency declaration.

But the emergency declaration is not exactly settled, as it still faces a host of lawsuits , including one from a coalition of almost two-dozen states led by California.

The Pentagon had announced Monday that it was shifting $1 billion from military construction projects to build part of the wall.

It is rare for Congress to successfully override a presidential veto, something that happened only once during the Obama administration, and Tuesday's outcome was expected.

Despite his veto remaining intact, Trump may not be able to spend the money for barriers quickly because of lawsuits by Democratic state attorneys general and others that could take years to resolve.

Most of the 14 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block the emergency declaration have said that while they agreed with the president's call for border security, his method for securing funding set a bad precedent of executive overreach. "The House and Senate resoundingly rejected the President's lawless power grab, yet the President has chosen to continue to defy the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people", Pelosi said in a statement at the time.

Congress voted to provide less than $1.4 billion for barrier construction.

The president's declaration also lacks support among the public.

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