House votes to block border emergency
by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/27/19, 10:17 am
WASHINGTON—House Democrats, joined by more than a dozen of their colleagues from across the aisle, voted Tuesday evening to terminate President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund the building of a wall on the U.S. southern border. The resolution passed 245-182. It is unlikely to succeed at reversing the president’s declaration in the long-run but would block Trump from accessing some funds to construct a border wall. Two hundred and thirty-two Democrats voted for the measure, joined by 13 Republicans, including Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, whose district stretches 800 miles along the southern U.S. border.
The president declared a national emergency on Feb. 15 to fulfill his campaign pledge to construct a border wall. The day before, Congress passed a budget allocating almost $1.4 billion for border security. Through the national emergency and other executive actions, Trump plans come up with about $8 billion for barriers and enhanced security on the southern border—not necessarily a concrete wall. About $3.5 billion of the funds would come from the national emergency declaration.
The resolution to block the declaration now heads to the Senate. Under the National Emergencies Act, the resolution is considered “privileged,” which means it automatically receives a Senate vote within 18 days and only needs a simple 51-vote majority to pass. If all 47 Democrats support the measure, only four GOP defections are needed for it to clear the upper chamber. Some Republicans are expected to join their Democratic colleagues because of concerns about the constitutionality of using a national emergency to deliver the president’s signature campaign promise.
“As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies,” Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., wrote Tuesday in a Washington Post op-ed, saying he would support the resolution. GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine are also expected to vote with the Democrats. If the measure reaches Trump’s desk, it will almost certainly receive the first veto of his presidency. Congress can override a president’s veto with a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, and Democrats are unlikely to sway enough Republicans against the president to do that.
On Monday, the president urged Republicans to stay with him. “I hope our great Republican Senators don’t get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security,” he tweeted. “Without strong Borders, we don’t have a Country—and the voters are on board with us. Be strong and smart, don’t fall into the Democrats ‘trap’ of Open Borders and Crime!”
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.