House Votes to Block Border Emergency Declaration

A woman walks on the beach next to the border wall topped with razor wire in Tijuana, Mexico, on Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

WASHINGTON (CN) – The House of Representatives on Friday again voted to terminate the national emergency President Donald Trump declared in February to fund his long-promised border wall.

The 236-174 vote is the third the House has taken to end the emergency Trump declared at the southern border, which the White House has used to move $3.6 billion from other federal accounts to fund the wall. Friday’s vote in the House follows the Senate’s 54-41 vote Wednesday to terminate the emergency.

Trump is expected to veto the resolution and the margins in the House and Senate indicate neither chamber will be in a position to override the veto. The House and Senate also voted to terminate the emergency in February and March, respectively, but the House failed to override Trump’s veto.

Trump declared the emergency in February amid a protracted funding fight with Congress that included the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Democrats have said because Congress only gave Trump $1.375 billion for limited fencing along the border, the emergency declaration amounts to the White House taking powers inherently granted to Congress.

“The president’s fake national emergency is an end run around this Congress’ power of the purse and an offense to the Constitution,” House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said before the vote.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released the list of military projects from which the administration will pull money to fund the wall, including the construction of new schools on military bases and for repairs to bases hit by natural disasters.

Republicans have largely defended Trump’s declaration, accusing Democrats of downplaying the situation at the southern border. Representative Tom McClintock, R-Calif., defended Trump by saying he was acting within his authority under the National Emergencies Act when he declared the emergency.

“Whether Congress should have delegated this authority is a separate question that no one has raised in 43 years, but while that authority exists, the president has both a right and a duty to use it to defend our country,” McClintock said on the House floor Friday.

The House brought a lawsuit in April challenging the emergency declaration, but a federal judge in Washington denied a request for an injunction in June. The decision is currently on appeal before the D.C. Circuit.

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