Trump vetoes bill rejecting his border emergency declaration
President Donald Trump signed this Friday his veto of the resolution passed by both houses of the US Congress rejecting his resort to a national emergency declaration to obtain funds for the wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico.
“I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” the president said moments before signing the document during a ceremony at the Oval Office.
Trump said he has the overwhelming support of Republican voters and that both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which rejected his national emergency declaration on Feb. 26, had voted in favor of a “dangerous” and “reckless” resolution.
The president again insisted on the need to finish the wall separating the US from Mexico, because “our porous southern border continues to be a magnet for lawless migration and criminals and has created a border security and humanitarian crisis that endangers every American.”
He said “people hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is.”
The resolution was sent to the White House after being approved Thursday by the Senate.
The 59-41 vote in the Republican-controlled upper house came just over two weeks after the measure was approved by a sizable 245-182 majority in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
A dozen Republican senators joined their Democratic colleagues in opposing the emergency declaration.
But it is extremely unlikely that either the House or the Senate will muster the two-thirds majority necessary to override Trump’s veto.
Trump declared the national emergency on Feb. 15 with the goal of bypassing Congress and securing billions of dollars in additional funding to build the border wall.
The White House says that Trump plans to use around $8 billion to build the wall, including just under $1.38 billion from a Homeland Security appropriations bill that Congress passed on Feb. 14.
The remaining $6.6 billion in funds is to be shifted from other programs through a combination of executive actions and the national emergency declaration.
Trump’s plan is to use $3.5 billion from the Defense Department’s military construction budget, $2.5 billion from that department’s drug interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund to supplement the funding approved by Congress.
Trump’s pledge to build a wall to put a stop to illegal immigration is considered priority No. 1 by his core group of supporters and was a key factor in his surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Democrats, however, have blasted Trump’s plans to move money around without congressional approval and say there is no emergency on the US’s southern border.
Several Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, say invoking a national emergency to build the wall creates a dangerous precedent because a future Democratic president would feel free to take similar action in the future if his or her priorities were blocked by Congress.