House Democrats overwhelming passed legislation on Tuesday designed to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern border, Fox News reports.
“Tuesday’s vote marked the first time the House or Senate has tried to terminate a presidential declaration of a national emergency, using the provisions of the National Emergencies Act of 1976,” reports the outlet. “Former Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., attempted a similar effort regarding a national emergency declared by then-President George W. Bush, but the measure never came to a vote on the House floor.”
Tuesday’s bill passed the House by a vote of 245-182. All Democrats voted in favor of the bill and were joined by only 13 Republicans. For the bill to pass the Senate, enough Republicans would have to break party lines, prompting President Trump to issue his first veto that only a two-thirds super-majority could break. Three Republican senators have said they would support the legislation, which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says will be up for a vote sometime in March. Even if the bill were to pass, House GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said the Senate would not be able to override Trump’s veto.
“When you see the vote today, there will be nowhere near the votes to override a veto,” Scalise said on Tuesday.
House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) condemned Trump’s national emergency declaration as a move that would “steal billions of dollars” from the U.S. military to build the Mexico border wall. House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D–MD) said Republicans are voting along party, not ideological, lines.
“If Republicans vote their beliefs, we’ll get a lot. If they vote their party, we won’t get a lot,” said Hoyer.
On Monday, the president warned Republicans that his supporters and an overwhelming number of Americans support border security.
“I hope our great Republican Senators don’t get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security,” Trump 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!”
Supporters of the president say the national emergency declaration is an appropriate response given the magnitude of the problem.
“I went down there neutral on this question, didn’t know whether or not I’d support a national emergency,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). “And, I came back more convinced than probably anybody that this is the right thing to do.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Democrats are not taking the border crisis seriously by treating it like a phantom menace cooked up by President Trump.
“We had a great presentation from Vice President Pence and his team regarding the emergency declaration and the need for additional spending to protect our southern border,” Graham told reporters this week. “The Vice President made a compelling case that the border crisis is real and President Trump has both the authority and legal backing to declare a national emergency.”
Graham added that Democrats were acting hypocritically on the issue, citing when President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis on the southern border in 2014.
“In 2014, President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis at our southern border because 120,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended,” Graham said. “As of today, we have already apprehended 120,000 in Fiscal Year 2019. The problems of 2014 are only getting worse.”