House Begins Process to Override Trump's Emergency Declaration for Border Wall

Part of the fence separating the United States and Mexico. Getty Images
Part of the fence separating the United States and Mexico. Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- The House will vote Tuesday on a resolution to overturn President Trump's national emergency declaration related to illegal immigration across the southern border, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday.

Trump issued the emergency declaration a week ago, after Congress passed legislation that included $1.375 billion for border barriers, but no money for a wall and far less than the $5.7 billion he had requested.

Trump says the wall is necessary to address illegal immigration. Critics note that unauthorized border crossings have fallen in recent years and accuse Trump of manufacturing a crisis after Congress refused to give him taxpayer funds to fulfill a major campaign promise. Originally, he promised Mexico would pay for the wall.

The resolution, filed Friday, is sponsored by the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Joaquin Castro (R-Texas), and has at least 226 co-sponsors, including Republican Justin Amash of Michigan.

It is almost certain to pass the Democratic-controlled House, but prospects in the GOP-led Senate are unclear. The White House has hinted Trump would veto it.

The National Emergencies Act requires both chambers to consider the resolution in a timely manner. Assuming it passes the House, the Senate would have 18 days to vote.

That will require Senate Republicans to take a position on Trump's unprecedented use of executive authority to declare a national emergency to pay for a domestic project that Congress has explicitly declined to fund.

It would take just four Republicans voting with all Democrats to pass the resolution, and at least that many GOP lawmakers have expressed concerns with the emergency declaration route the president has chosen.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have argued that Trump's order violates the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution, which grants Congress the power to decide how the government spends taxpayer dollars.

"We would be delinquent in our duties if we did not protect and defend the Constitution … even from the president," Pelosi said Friday on a call with reporters.

Castro said he's encouraging Republicans to join the effort, warning that "if the Congress rolls over on this, then the president is likely to do it again."

Trump hasn't directly said he would veto the resolution if it reaches his desk -- the first veto of his presidency. If he did, it could be difficult for Congress to override him with the required two-thirds of the vote. Democrats will likely also throw their weight behind lawsuits trying to halt the wall construction, and could try to legislatively block Trump from accessing funds for certain projects.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump's acting chief of staff, told reporters last week that the declaration would free an additional $6.6 billion for barrier construction. The administration could move the money from military construction projects where Congress has approved funds, but it has not yet been spent. But no details have been provided about where exactly the administration plans to pull funds.

According to Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, among the hundreds of eligible projects Trump could pull funds from are electrical upgrades at Camp Pendleton, replacing Pier 8 in San Diego and multiple training facilities at Coronado.

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This article was written by Sarah D. Wire from The Los Angeles Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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