President Donald Trump rejected a bill Friday that would end the national emergency he declared at the southern U.S. border.
The president’s veto, signed in front of reporters in the Oval Office, is his first since he entered the White House. While the Democratic-held House will likely try to override his opposition, neither chamber of Congress appears to have enough support to reach the two-thirds majority needed.
The GOP-controlled Senate dealt a blow to Trump on Thursday, when 12 Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to terminate his emergency declaration. He publicly pushed Senate Republicans to vote against the House-passed resolution even as he shot down one plan that could have limited the number of GOP senators voting to block his flex of executive power.
In a tweet before he vetoed the bill, Trump thanked the GOP senators who he said “bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL.”
“Watch, when you get back to your State, they will LOVE you more than ever before!” he wrote.
Though Trump has pushed back congressional efforts to check his declaration for now, his administration still has to fight court challenges. More than a dozen states and several outside groups have filed lawsuits challenging his executive action.
Democrats plan to vote to override Trump’s veto on March 26, NBC News reported, citing two sources. Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who introduced the measure to block the declaration in the House, said Thursday that he will try to gather support for another vote even though it will be “very tough” to reach a two-thirds majority.
Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border last month to divert already approved Defense Department money to build his proposed border wall. He demanded $5.7 billion for border barriers as part of a spending plan to fund the government through September, but Congress denied him. Lawmakers passed only $1.4 billion for structures on the border.
Democrats said Trump created a sham emergency in order to circumvent Congress’ appropriations power. Republicans also worried the president setting a dangerous precedent that Democrats could use to declare emergencies related to other topics such as climate change and gun violence.
Trump hopes to put $8 billion total toward the border wall, including the money allocated by Congress. Using emergency powers, he would divert $3.6 billion from military construction funds. With other executive actions, he hopes to pull the remainder from other Pentagon and Treasury Department funds.
The wall will not go away as a political issue. Trump set up another fight with Democrats when he asked for an additional $8.6 billion for border barriers in his recently released fiscal 2020 budget.
Democrats could also vote on whether to block the national emergency declaration every six months.
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.
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