- President Donald Trump on Friday vetoed a resolution that would have terminated his national-emergency declaration to build additional mileage of physical barriers along the US-Mexico border.
- The veto is the first of Trump’s presidency and comes after he was rebuked by Congress.
- Trump is also likely to veto another resolution in the coming weeks, as Congress is advancing legislation that would withdraw US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump vetoed the resolution on Friday aimed at terminating his national-emergency declaration to build physical barriers along the US-Mexico border using funds previously appropriated elsewhere.
It is the first veto of the Trump presidency and comes after the Senate issued a stern rebuke of the administration’s efforts to make good on a 2016 campaign promise to build the wall.
“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” Trump said to reporters in the Oval Office. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it.”
Because of the veto, the resolution will go back to the House, where it is far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override the president. The Senate also lacks the 67 votes needed to override a veto.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that a vote on the override would take place on March 26, calling out Republicans who have not yet joined the cause.
“House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution,” she said in a statement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer panned the veto decision in a statement.
“It is no surprise that the president holds the rule of law and our Constitution in minimal regard. There is no emergency; Congress has refused to fund his wall multiple times; Mexico won’t pay for it; and a bipartisan majority in both chambers just voted to terminate his fake emergency,” he said. “While the president has chosen to trample all over the Constitution, we Democrats in the Senate will never stop defending our country from an overreaching president.”
The veto came one day after the Senate passed the resolution, in which 12 Republicans joined with unanimous Democratic support to respond to what they characterised as executive overreach and an abuse of emergency powers by Trump.
The resolution, originally introduced by Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, had handily passed in the House in February, when just 13 Republicans crossed the aisle.
The White House had repeatedly threatened to veto the legislation. Before the vote, the administration had attempted to cut deals with the GOP senators on board with the resolution to avoid the embarrassment of having one of Trump’s signature policies rejected in such a fashion.
Vice President Mike Pence had initially been communicating to Republican senators that Trump would get on board with future legislation to limit emergency powers. But when Trump informed Republicans he would not support a bill brought forth by Utah Sen. Mike Lee that would accomplish just that, all hope of staving off the veto disappeared.
Trump had tweeted openness to supporting limitations on future emergency declarations shortly before the Thursday vote, writing on Twitter, “If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!”
But it was too late. Instead, Republicans from across the party’s spectrum voted with Democrats to terminate the emergency declaration, including moderates such as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, as well as Tea Party-era conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Trump is also slated to issue another veto in the coming weeks, as Congress is moving forward with a resolution withdrawing US military support from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The resolution passed the Senate on Wednesday and is expected to easily pass in the House at a later date.
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