House

House fails to override Trump veto on border wall

The House failed Tuesday to override the first veto of President Trump's tenure, a vote led by Democrats seeking to uphold a measure unwinding the president's national emergency declaration at the southern border.

The chamber voted 248-181 to override the veto, falling short of the roughly 290 votes, or two-thirds majority, needed. Trump issued the veto earlier this month to push back on a rebuke from Congress over his bid to reallocate Pentagon funding to build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The vast majority of Republicans in the lower chamber stood with Trump on Tuesday over the veto. But 14 GOP lawmakers opted to break party lines and rebuke the president's emergency declaration for a second time.

"The men and women who put their lives on the line every single day to secure our borders deserve all the tools they need to do the job, including a border wall," Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said during debate. "Through President Trump's proclamation and his veto of House Joint Resolution 4, he's acting decisively to finally address this crisis under the authority provided to him by Congress."

Republican critics of Trump's national emergency questioned whether the move violated the Constitution. Others argued shifting billions of dollars from the Defense Department could have a negative impact on military readiness.

"We all agree with the need for border security, so I want to be clear on that, but we need to separate out the need for border security with how we get there. And there are constitutional concerns here," GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) told CNN ahead of the vote Tuesday.  

"And the message that I've shared with all my colleagues is, 'Be careful of the precedent you're setting here, because if you take that position now on this issue be prepared to be consistent on the same issue of Title 50 when a future administration takes this action on another issue.'"

GOP Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Francis Rooney (Fla.), Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), Greg Walden (Ore.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.) and Fitzpatrick joined all Democrats in voting for the measure.

Following the vote, Trump took to social media to praise GOP lawmakers for standing with the administration on the issue.

 

"Thank you to the House Republicans for sticking together and the BIG WIN today on the Border. Today's vote simply reaffirms Congressional Democrats are the party of Open Borders, Drugs and Crime!" he tweeted.  

Democrats have been vocal in their disapproval of Trump's declaration that he issued in mid-February, blasting it as an abuse of power for a partisan priority.

"I'm convinced that the president's actions are unlawful and deeply irresponsible. A core foundation of our system of government and of democracies across the world going back hundreds of years is that the executive cannot unilaterally spend taxpayer money without the legislature's consent," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on the floor.

"The president shredded that concept when he declared an emergency after he failed to get his way in a budget negotiation. And as he often does, he announced his intention to ignore Congress in plain sight for all the world to see."

The lower chamber voted to overturn Trump's emergency declaration in late February, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats in support of the joint resolution led by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). The Senate followed suit in March, with 12 GOP senators bucking party lines to vote against Trump's declaration.

Trump issued the veto shortly after the disapproval resolution passed the Senate this month. The president said it would be "reckless" to allow the resolution to take effect, arguing there is a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border that needs to be addressed.

"Today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it," Trump said during a ceremony in the Oval Office earlier this month. 

Castro and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a statement shortly after the vote regarding the next steps they would take.

"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," the lawmakers said in the joint statement.

"In six months, the Congress will have another opportunity to put a stop to this President's wrongdoing. We will continue to review all options to protect our Constitution and our Democracy from the President's assault."

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