Border wall emergency: US House fails to override Trump's veto

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro said lawmakers would keep trying to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration. A section of the US-Mexico border fence seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Democrats who control
A section of the US-Mexico border fence seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Democrats who control the US House of Representatives on Tuesday did not attract enough Republican support for their move to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration, falling some three dozen votes short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to overturn his veto.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro said lawmakers would keep trying to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration. A section of the US-Mexico border fence seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Democrats who control
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (above) and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro said lawmakers would keep trying to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro said lawmakers would keep trying to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration. A section of the US-Mexico border fence seen from Tijuana, Mexico. Democrats who control
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro ( above) said lawmakers would keep trying to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • The US House of Representatives has 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 on Tuesday, falling some three dozen votes short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to overturn Mr Trump's veto.

Just 14 Republicans joined 234 Democrats in voting to override the veto, one more Republican than had bucked Mr Trump in a previous House vote on the border wall emergency. One Democrat and two Republicans did not vote.

With the 248-181 tally, Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr Trump's emergency declaration also shifts to the courts, with various legal challenges already under way that could slow Mr Trump's wall building plans for some time.

A coalition of 16 states sued in the federal courts last month to stop Mr 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," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter after the House vote.

"Today's vote simply reaffirms Congressional Democrats are the party of Open Borders, Drugs and Crime!"

Mr Trump declared the national emergency on Feb 15 in an attempt to bypass Congress and move taxpayer funds already approved by the legislature for other uses and redirect them to the wall.

Bipartisan majorities of both the House and Senate rejected his move, voting to terminate the emergency before Mr Trump 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.

Mr Trump sought US$5.7 billion (S$7.7 billion) in wall funding this year. When Congress refused, the stand-off triggered a month-long partial government shutdown.

That ended when Mr Trump agreed to US$1.37 billion for border barriers, far less than he wanted. However, he then declared the emergency, vowing to divert funds from other accounts for the wall.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'Border wall emergency: US House fails to override Trump's veto'. Print Edition | Subscribe