WASHINGTON — House Democrats on Tuesday failed to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a measure to repeal his emergency declaration on the southern border.
The 248-181 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority required to overturn a presidential veto. The GOP-controlled Senate would also be unlikely to reach that threshold, with Republican leaders there showing no inclination to bring it up for a vote in any case.
The House vote comes nearly a month after the chamber passed a resolution to reverse the president’s border declaration in a 245-182 vote, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats in support of the measure. A few weeks later, the Senate also voted to repeal the emergency declaration in a 59-41 vote in which 12 Republicans joined Democrats to rebuke the president. Many GOP lawmakers who opposed the president’s declaration warned that it set a dangerous precedent for future presidents.
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Trump ultimately vetoed the measure, the first veto of his presidency, rejecting the congressional effort. He called the Democrats' resolution “reckless” and a “vote against reality.” 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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, the resolution's author, said in a joint statement that despite Tuesday's unsuccessful vote, Congress would "work through the appropriations and defense authorization processes to terminate this dangerous action and restore our constitutional system of balance of powers."
"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. This will provide significant evidence for the courts as they review lawsuits," they said.
"We will continue to review all options to protect our Constitution and our democracy from the president’' assault," they added.
Trump, who was actually present at the Capitol at the time of the vote to attend a lunch with Senate Republicans, declared the emergency in February. According to a senior White House official at the time, the move gave his administration access to $8 billion for the border wall, including the $1.375 billion in the funding package that he signed into law last month, $600 million in Treasury forfeiture, $2.5 billion from the drug interdiction program and $3.6 billion in military construction from the Defense Department.
Meanwhile, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., sent a letter to the Defense Department on Tuesday denying a request from the administration to transfer $1 billion from 2019 appropriations approved by Congress to “construct additional physical barriers and roads or install lighting in the vicinity of the United States border.”