Dems prepare next steps after Trump's veto

Democrats are planning a vote that aims to override President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's veto of legislation blocking his emergency declaration, an effort that’s all but certain to fail.

The House will hold a veto override vote on March 26, shortly after lawmakers return from a weeklong recess, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Hillary Clinton slams Trump for spreading 'sexist trash' about Pelosi Hillicon Valley: Facebook won't remove doctored Pelosi video | Trump denies knowledge of fake Pelosi videos | Controversy over new Assange charges | House Democrats seek bipartisan group on net neutrality MORE (D-Calif.) announced Friday. The measure is unlikely to garner the necessary two-thirds majority, given that only 13 House Republicans joined with Democrats in support of a resolution last month to block Trump's emergency declaration to build a border wall.

ADVERTISEMENT

And even though 12 Senate Republicans joined the Democrats to send the measure to Trump’s desk, eight more would have to defect in that chamber to override the veto, the first of Trump's presidency.

Even if they can’t force Trump to revoke the national emergency, Democrats are hoping to highlight the constitutional questions surrounding Trump's declaration and the infighting it has prompted within the GOP.

“House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Democrats are also eyeing other strategies for preventing Trump from expanding the wall with funds Congress previously allotted for other purposes, including military construction projects.

"Any veto override is difficult, but we keep fighting. Both chambers of Congress — one Republican and one Democrat — are on record to terminate the President's emergency declaration," Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroHispanics still thriving with the economic growth of Trump era Pelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment MORE (D-Texas), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and author of the disapproval resolution, said Friday in an email.

“This will provide significant evidence for the courts as they review lawsuits,” he added. “We will also continue working in Congress to find avenues to terminate the emergency declaration — whether it be through appropriations or other processes.”

ADVERTISEMENT

One such avenue is simply to bring repeated votes on Castro’s disapproval resolution — a plan suggested Thursday by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' MORE (D-N.Y.). Democrats are also considering efforts to attach the language as an amendment to larger bills, including 2020 spending measures and reauthorization of defense funding — legislation that’s “a natural fit” for the disapproval resolution, according to a Democratic aide.

The Senate cleared a resolution Thursday to block Trump’s emergency declaration, with the support of a dozen Republicans, after the House passed it late last month.

Trump said during an Oval Office ceremony Friday that Americans would be at risk if the "dangerous" resolution became law.

“Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said, marking the first veto of his presidency.

Schumer signaled that Senate Democrats would force additional votes on resolutions of disapproval blocking Trump every six months, as allowed under the National Emergencies Act, to prolong an issue that divides Republicans.

"I believe the law allows us to bring it up every six months, and certainly we would intend to do that," Schumer told reporters.

Schumer maintained that senators should challenge the White House even if Trump will veto each of those disapproval resolutions.

"The point of defending the checks and balances that the Founding Fathers put so exquisitely into our government? We've got to defend it 10 times even if they knock it down in hopes of winning the 11th," Schumer said.

House Democratic leaders are weighing the possibility of additional votes as well, a leadership aide said.

It’s also possible that Democrats could file a lawsuit challenging the emergency declaration or join an existing one, but no decision has been made. Sixteen state attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps Trump administration moves forward with final rule to allow new California drilling Overnight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules MORE (D), filed a lawsuit last month, with more states signing on in recent weeks.

But Democrats said the passage of a resolution — especially under divided government — to terminate the declaration could bolster the legal arguments challenging Trump’s authority.

“Think about it: both chambers of Congress, one Democratic and one Republican, voted to terminate the President’s emergency declaration,” Castro said. “As the courts review this, that will be a significant legal fact.”

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are working on legislation that would overhaul the National Emergencies Act and make it easier for Congress to terminate future emergency declarations.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump Hillicon Valley: Google delays cutting off Huawei | GOP senators split over breaking up big tech | Report finds DNC lagging behind RNC on cybersecurity MORE (R-Utah) introduced a bill this week — ahead of Thursday’s vote on the resolution to block the declaration — that would automatically end all future emergency declarations after 30 days unless Congress votes to extend the emergency. That measure was intended as part of a potential deal allowing Senate Republicans to vote against terminating the border emergency declaration in exchange for Trump endorsing the bill to rein in national emergencies.

But Pelosi made clear that the House wouldn’t take up such legislation “to give President Trump a pass.”

The talks ultimately fell apart, leading the 12 Senate Republicans to vote with Democrats to block the declaration.

But when asked after Thursday’s vote on the declaration if the House could take up legislation to reform the National Emergencies Act, a Pelosi spokesman said House committees are looking into the issue.

“The House Committees are reviewing the President’s unlawful use of the National Emergencies Act. It was never intended — and still is not permissible — to be used by the President to settle a policy dispute in which he miserably failed to convince the Congress and the American people,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in an email.

Jordain Carney contributed.