Evan Vucci | AP
President Donald Trump speaks about border security in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Washington. Trump issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding.
Those lawsuits in part cited comments Trump made when he declared the emergency last month. The president said he “didn’t need to” take that step but wanted to expedite the construction of barriers.
Democrats plan to vote to override Trump’s veto on March 26, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a written statement Friday. When the House voted on it previously, 245 members supported it, well short of the 285 needed for two-thirds support. (The House currently only has 432 members due to three vacancies.)
“On March 26, the House will once again act to protect our Constitution and our democracy from the President’s emergency declaration by holding a vote to override his veto,” the California Democrat said. “House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution.”
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 appropriated 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 is setting a dangerous precedent that Democrats could use in the future to declare emergencies related to other topics such as climate change and gun violence.
“It is no surprise that the president holds the rule of law and our Constitution in minimal regard,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement following the veto. “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.”
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.
The Senate rebuked Trump twice this week. The chamber also voted to end U.S. support for a Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention in Yemen. Once the House passes the resolution, as expected, the president will likely have to issue his second veto.
Trump’s two predecessors, Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, both issued 12 vetoes during their two terms in office.