Friday, March 15, 2019
Trump wields first presidential veto to nix border emergency rebuff
President Trump on Friday used the first veto of his administration to reject a bipartisan resolution that sought to block his declaration of a national emergency at the border, a move almost certain to kill the measure.
Trump’s veto came a day after 12 Senate Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the resolution, despite last-minute efforts between the White House and GOP lawmakers to keep the Republican Party united. The measure ultimately passed 59-41, and Trump immediately vowed to veto.
While the original passage marked a stinging rebuke from members of Trump's own party, his veto is likely the last word as lawmakers are unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority required to override.
Trump originally declared a national emergency on the border last month after Congress granted only a fraction of the $5.7 billion he requested for a wall on the border. Declaring a national emergency allows Trump to steer an extra $3.6 billion to the wall.
Senate Democrats, who have consistently opposed many of Trump’s hardline immigration policies, were joined by Republicans who expressed support for Trump’s calls to build a wall -- but cited concern about the expansion of presidential power. The resolution had previously passed the Democrat-controlled House.
“This is a constitutional question, it’s a question of the balance of power that is core to our constitution,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters. “This is not about the president or border security, in fact I support border security, I support a barrier.”
The other Republicans who voted to oppose the declaration were Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Roger Wicker, R-Miss.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., had said he would oppose the declaration but reversed course on the Senate floor, saying that he was "sympathetic" to Trump's push to deal with the crisis at the border.
Lee, meanwhile, had introduced a bill that would end future emergency declarations after 30 days, in an effort to allow Republicans to vote against the resolution. But after Trump said he opposed that legislation, Lee eventually backed the measure to rebuff Trump.
Fox News' Kelly Phares contributed to this report.