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House fails to override Trump’s national emergency veto

14 House Republicans voted to block the declaration -- one more than in February.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) at a February news conference about the resolution terminate President Donald Trump's emergency. The House sustained Trump's veto on Tuesday.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) at a February news conference about the resolution terminate President Donald Trump's emergency. The House sustained Trump's veto on Tuesday, with just 14 Republicans voting to override the president's decision. (PHOTO CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to obtain the required two-thirds super-majority to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution blocking his national emergency declaration. The vote was 248 in favor, 181 against.

Among those who backed the override were 14 House Republicans — one more than previously voted in favor of the House and Senate-backed resolution. Rep. John Katko (R-NY) backed Tuesday’s effort but missed the earlier vote in February.

Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border in February in an attempt to siphon off funds from other areas of the government to pay for a long-promised border wall. The president claimed an influx of drugs and crime were coming across open areas of the border, and that smugglers were exploiting those regions to traffic women and children into the United States, all claims that have been debunked repeatedly.

At the time, 13 House Republicans joined all 232 Democrats present to pass H.J. Res. 46, a joint resolution to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration. A dozen Senate Republicans later joined the unanimous Senate Democratic caucus to send the measure to the president’s desk — though, as expected, he vetoed it immediately.

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The 13 House Republicans who voted for the initial resolution were Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Will Hurd (R-TX), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Fred Upton (R-MI), Greg Walden (R-OR). All 13 voted for the override attempt.

In his veto message earlier this month, Trump called the resolution “a dangerous resolution that would undermine United States sovereignty and threaten the lives and safety of countless Americans.”

While the legislation was never expected to become law, it does represent a bipartisan and bicameral rebuke of the president’s power grab.

As a candidate, Trump promised repeatedly that he would build a massive wall along the southern border and that the project would be entirely paid for by Mexico. When Mexico declined to spend the required billions to fund the wall, Trump demanded Americans foot the bill, kickstarting a partial government shutdown after Democrats refused to give in. After the shutdown — the longest in the nation’s history — failed to convince Congress or the American public of the merits of this expenditure, Trump declared a national emergency in an attempt to bypass the appropriations process.

A bipartisan coalition of former national security officials and a group of retired Republican lawmakers urged Congress to block Trump’s maneuver. Many noted that if a president could circumvent the constitutional appropriations process in this instance, a future president could do the same to implement progressive policies like universal healthcare or climate action.

This post has been updated to identify the 14 Republicans who supported the override.