Thu, Feb 28, 2019 - Page 1 News List

US House strikes down Trump’s border emergency

AFP, WASHINGTON

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, center, right, and US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, center, left, walk to the House chambers in Washington on Tuesday to vote on blocking US President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over the border situation.

Photo: AFP

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday dealt a blow to US President Donald Trump, approving a resolution blocking him from obtaining funding for a Mexican border wall through his declaration of a national emergency.

Dismissing a veto threat by Trump, the Democratic-controlled House struck down his emergency declaration by a comfortable margin of 245-182, sending the measure to the Republican-held US Senate.

Thirteen Republicans joined Democrats in voting to “terminate” Trump’s emergency declaration, which the Republican president issued on Feb. 15 after failing to secure billions of dollars from the US Congress for the wall.

The emergency declaration would allow Trump to find funding for the border wall from other sources, notably the Pentagon budget for military construction projects.

Trump has threatened to veto the resolution if it passes both the 435-member House and the 100-seat Senate, where Republicans hold a 53-47 edge and its prospects are uncertain.

Democrats have denounced the emergency declaration as a power grab by the president and a breach of the US constitution, because it usurps the power of Congress to decide government spending.

At least two Republicans — Senator Susan Collins and Senator Thom Tillis — have said they would back the resolution overturning Trump’s emergency declaration.

Four Republicans would need to break ranks for the measure to pass the Senate, but neither chamber is likely to be able to muster the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto.

Should the measure clear both the House and the Senate and reach his desk, Trump would be faced with a stinging rebuke and cornered into issuing the first veto of his presidency.

Trump’s national emergency declaration gives him access to billions of dollars to construct the border wall beyond the nearly US$1.4 billion allocated by Congress.

Trump has said he is “100 percent” certain to issue a veto if the House and Senate override his declaration, which the White House reiterated on Tuesday.

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