Senate Fails to Block Emergency Border Wall Funding

Construction crews replace a section of the primary wall separating San Diego, above right, and Tijuana, Mexico, below left, on March 11, 2019. (AP file photo/Gregory Bull)

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Senate came up short Thursday in a vote to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that initially passed with Republican support to end an emergency declaration to fund the border wall.

Democrats must now wait another six months before reintroducing the resolution to the floor after the 53-36 defeat. A veto override requires a two-thirds majority.

Trump told the Senate on Monday that vetoing the joint resolution was needed to keep military forces at the U.S. southern border constructing “virtually insurmountable physical barriers.”

“In short, the situation on our southern border remains a national emergency, and our Armed Forces are still needed to help confront it,” he added.

Trump also described the first resolution Democrats put forward in March to end the emergency declaration, which he also vetoed, as dangerous and claimed it would threaten the lives of countless Americans.

Among the handful of Republicans who voted to override Trump’s veto on Thursday were Utah Senator Mitt Romney and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Originally, 11 Republicans sided with Democrats in a 54-41 vote to terminate the declaration.

Trump said Monday that he is well within his executive authority to issue the emergency declaration, reminding Congress that he recently triumphed in a Supreme Court challenge.

In July, the Supreme Court, led by a conservative majority, lifted a lower court ban that blocked the White House from shifting $2.5 million in military funds to erect Trump’s long-promised border wall.

Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg all said they would have denied outright the administration’s request to lift the injunction coming out of California.

The president declared a national emergency in February — after agreeing to a deal to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history over funding for the wall — saying it would free up billions to begin construction.

Democrats have condemned the move as violating the Constitution. Congress, not the White House, they argue, holds the power of the purse.

“It’s a sad day when the president is cheering a decision that may allow him to steal funds from our military to pay for an ineffective and expensive wall for which he promised Mexico would foot the bill,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a July statement responding to the Supreme Court ruling.

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