US House fails to override Trump veto on border wall emergency

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to override President Donald Trump’s first veto, leaving in place the “national emergency” he declared last month to build a US-Mexico border wall that Congress has not funded.
Democrats who control the House did not attract enough Republican support, falling some three dozen votes short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to overturn Trump’s veto.
Just 14 Republicans joined 234 Democrats in voting to override, one more Republican than had bucked Trump in a previous House vote on the border wall emergency. One Democrat and two Republicans did not vote.
With the 248-181 tally, Trump is now likely to continue scouring federal accounts for money he wants redirected to building a border
wall, which he says is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro, author of the resolution to overturn Trump’s move, said lawmakers would keep trying to block him through the regular congressional process of appropriating funds, as well as reviewing his emergency declaration again six months from now.
The battle over Trump’s emergency declaration also shifts to the courts, with various legal challenges already under way that could slow Trump’s building plans for some time.
A coalition of 16 states sued in federal court in February to stop Trump’s border wall emergency; another four states joined the lawsuit this month.
“Thank you to the House Republicans for sticking together and the BIG WIN today on the Border,” Trump wrote on Twitter after the House vote. “Today’s vote simply reaffirms Congressional Democrats are the party of Open Borders, Drugs and Crime!”
Trump declared the national emergency on February 15 in an attempt to bypass Congress and move taxpayer funds for the wall away from other uses already approved by the legislature.
Bipartisan majorities of both the House and Senate rejected his move, voting to terminate the emergency before the president vetoed their resolution on March 15.
Democrats argued the Republican president had overstepped his authority by going around Congress, because the legislature has the power to control spending under the US Constitution.
“We take an oath to the Constitution, not to the president of the United States,” Pelosi said on the House floor.
But Republicans insisted Trump had acted legally under a 1976 law known as the National Emergencies Act, under which previous presidents had declared dozens of emergencies.
“The president has the authority to act. The president is using the authority Congress has given him,” said Republican Representative Sam Graves. — Reuters