House fails to override Trump vet, preserving national emergency order


WASHINGTON – The House failed on Tuesday to overturn President Trump's first veto, leaving the declaration of a national emergency on the south-west border intact despite a bipartisan vote to rescind the president's bypass of Congress to finance his wall.

Despite concerns over the constitutional separation of powers and the effect of Mr. Trump's decision on local military projects, the vote of 248 to 181 was less than the two-thirds majority required to eliminate the declaration of national emergency.

Republicans in both Houses rallied to the Democrats to adopt the resolution disapproving of his state of national emergency only a few weeks ago, expressing dismay at the President 's intention to divert funding from the House of Commons. building a border wall without congressional approval. Trump, who issued the first veto from his administration, described the resolution as "dangerous", "reckless" and "vote against reality".

But only 14 Republicans finally joined the Democrats in the House to vote against the veto, one more than the 13 who voted for the disapproval resolution a month ago. (The New York Republican Representative, John Katko, said he would support the measure, but missed the previous vote.)

Mr. Trump then thanked Republicans in the House for "remaining united". "Today's vote simply reaffirms that congressional Democrats are the party of open borders, drugs and crime! wrote on Twitter.

The Democrats had hoped that the publication of any military construction projects that could lead to funding delays, while Trump was continuing his efforts, would influence their Republican colleagues. They articulated the vote on both noble constitutional principles and parish district affairs.

"Even when the legislature does not agree with the executive, we respect the president's mandate and it is his veto over legislation," said California President Nancy Pelosi, before vote.

"But when these decisions violate the Constitution," she added, "it must stop."

Republican House leaders, however, viewed voting as a political game and a waste of time.

Lawmakers and their Democratic assistants said they had not ruled out the possibility of resubmitting the resolution in six months and that they could use other legislative options to block the president's efforts to mobilize up to $ 3.6 billion in military construction funds.

For the moment, the political struggle over Mr Trump's national declaration of emergency is entrusted to the courts, where a number of States and organizations have joined in legal proceedings to challenge the legal merits of order. Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, warned in a statement that the 20 states involved in lawsuits "are ready to fight long and hard to put an end to their invented emergency situation".

Judicial machinations are likely to prevent the president and Pentagon officials from immediately mobilizing military funds for the construction of border walls, and the Defense Department has not yet established a definitive list of projects that may be behind schedule. . It is not known when the list will be available.

In the meantime, the Pentagon has taken the first steps to start using funds from other Defense Department funds for fencing at the border. Patrick M. Shanahan, Acting Secretary of Defense, authorized Monday the transfer of $ 1 billion military personnel to the construction of 57 km of border fencing, road improvement and the addition of lighting in Yuma, Arizona and El Paso. according to a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security.

Military officials said that they did not need congressional approval for such action. On Tuesday, lawmakers insisted, however, to the Pentagon authorities on the potential consequences for military construction and the merits of a wall on the southwestern border.

"To think of the Pentagon as a piggy bank, a slush fund, where you can get money for something when you need it really undermines the credibility of the entire OD. budget, "said Adam Smith, Washington representative, chairman of the House Armed Service Committee.

At a hearing Tuesday, Mr. Smith warned Mr. Shanahan and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Chairman of the Committee of Chiefs of Staff, that Congress would react to the reallocation of funds without Congressional approval by restricting the privilege of such reassignments. in the expense invoices for the next fiscal year.

Shanahan, who appeared before the committee for the first time as acting head of the Defense Department, acknowledged the "complexity of the situation on the south-western border" and said officials understood "the major disadvantages of losing what constitutes a privilege.

"These risks have been weighed, and given the commander's legal order," Shanahan said. "We execute in that order."

During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Commission, Michigan Democrat Senator Gary Peters also asked the army officials to indicate when to give priority to the state of readiness and modernization rather than security at the southwestern border.

"It's not up to me to say that one is more important than the other in relation to the overall US national security," said General Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army.

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