President Donald Trump vetoed a congressional resolution that was blocking his border wall emergency.
WASHINGTON – The House failed Tuesday to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional resolution halting his emergency declaration for the southern border. The measure moves to the Senate where it is also expected to go down.
The battle, however, continues in the courts where opponents of the wall, including the ACLU and more than a dozen states, are challenging Trump’s authority to declare a national emergency to build a barrier at the border.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said Democrats also have “reserved the rights” to pursue legal action.
“We’re going to fight the president in the Congress, in the courts and in the court of public opinion and we will continue to fight,” Pelosi told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview.
She noted the House and Senate’s bipartisan vote blocked the resolution, overturning the president’s “assault on the Constitution.”
“Even though we can’t override his veto we have established the intent of Congress and establishing the intent of Congress is a strong argument in the courts,” Pelosi said.
Trump vetoed the congressional resolution earlier this month after a dozen Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to block his national emergency declaration. It was a major rebuke by Senate Republicans on one of Trump’s signature issues.
Trump declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border Feb. 15 to free up money for a wall. The decision came after Congress rejected his request for $5.7 billion to build the barrier.
As the House debated the vote, Trump met with Senate Republicans across the U.S. Capitol at their weekly policy lunch.
The House voted 248 to 181, falling short of the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto.
Republicans argued the wall is needed to help protect the border, particularly against people trying to enter the country illegally and against drug trafficking.
“There is a crisis at the southwest border that can no longer be denied,” said Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee.
Earlier Tuesday, Democratic leaders said they still held out hope that some Republicans would join them in overriding the bill.
“Certainly, everyone that cares about the United States Constitution, as many of my Republican colleagues profess to do, should be alarmed at this presidential overreach,” said New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “Pursuant to Article 1 of the Constitution, we have the power of the purse. That prerogative has been invaded by Donald Trump.”
An override attempt, however, was always expected to fail because Democrats knew they didn’t have the two-thirds majority required in each chamber. Only 13 Republicans joined all Democrats in backing the resolution, even though many had warned against the declaration.
Some lawmakers have raised concerns that Trump will divert funds from military projects to pay for the wall.
Last week, the administration sent a list of construction projects to Congress that the Pentagon said it could delay to fund the barrier.
The national emergency declaration allows Trumps to tap billions in military construction projects, including air traffic control towers. The projects have been approved by Congress, but contracts have not yet been signed. Pentagon officials said the projects would be delayed, not canceled.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe, Tom Vanden Brook
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