Trump issues first veto to protect border emergency declaration

Donald Trump vetoes resolution terminating emergency declaration

Donald Trump vetoes resolution terminating emergency declaration

As president, Trump has the constitutional authority under Article I, Section 7 to reject a proposal from Congress. But for those who broke from party ranks to vote for the termination resolution, the president said they were "doing what they have to do", adding that he did not pressure them for their vote.

The Republican senators who rebuked Trump were unwavering in their justification, saying Thursday they viewed the unilateral move as unconstitutional and creating a unsafe precedent for future presidents.

Twelve of Trump's fellow Republicans joined Democrats to pass the measure to end the emergency declaration.

But the Senate margin fell short of the 67 votes needed for a veto override.

The emergency declaration is being challenged in court as an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress' power of the purse.

Trump wants to use the emergency order to redirect billions in federal dollars earmarked for defense spending toward the southern border wall.

Lawmakers, including 12 Republicans, had passed the rejection resolution on Thursday in a surprising rebuke of Mr Trump's signature issue.

A Justice Department letter to congressional leaders details the legal arguments defending the Trump emergency declaration, arguing that the president was authorized to do so by the National Emergencies Act passed by Congress in 1976.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced soon after the veto that the House would attempt to override it, after returning from a recess later this month. The 12 GOP senators, including the party's 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney of Utah, joined the dissent over the emergency declaration order that would enable the president to seize for the wall billions of dollars Congress meant to be spent elsewhere.

"I think actually a national emergency was designed for a specific goal like this, so we have a great case", Trump said. "To me, border security is national security".

Barr also made remarks and said President Trump's emergency declaration on the issue is "firmly grounded" in the law. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations so spoke on condition of anonymity. He noted, correctly, a spike in the number of people coming to the border to claim asylum.

The bipartisan vote in the Senate on Thursday approving the measure was a slap at Trump over his decision to circumvent Congress and take money already designated for other programs to pay for a barrier along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The veto would be the first of Trump's presidency.

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