House blocks Trump national emergency on wall

Representatives backed Democrats’ bill and voted 245-182 to block president

Democrats ignored a veto threat and rammed legislation through the House Tuesday that would stymie President Donald Trump’s bid for billions of extra dollars for his border wall, escalating a clash over whether he was abusing his powers to advance his paramount campaign pledge.

The House’s 245-182 vote to block Trump’s national emergency declaration throws the political hot potato to the Republican-run Senate, where there were already enough GOP defections to edge it to the cusp of passage. Vice-President Mike Pence used a lunch with Republican senators at the Capitol to try keeping them aboard, citing a dangerous crisis at the border, but there were no signs he’d succeeded.

READ MORE: Protesters across U.S. rail against Trump’s emergency, demand Congress act

“I personally couldn’t handicap the outcome at this point,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who’s planning a vote within the next three weeks.

Senate passage would force Trump’s first veto, which Congress would surely lack the votes to override. But the showdown was forcing Republicans to cast uncomfortable votes pitting their support for a president wildly popular with GOP voters against fears that his expansive use of emergency powers would invite future Democratic presidents to do likewise for their own pet policies.

Underscoring their desire to avoid a tally suggesting that Trump’s hold on lawmakers was weakening, House Republican leaders worked to keep the number of GOP supporters below 53. That’s how many would be needed to reach a two-thirds majority of 288 votes, assuming all Democrats vote “yes,” the margin required for a veto override.

Thirteen House Republicans joined all voting Democrats Tuesday to support the Democratic resolution.

The White House wrote to lawmakers formally threatening to veto the legislation. The letter said blocking the emergency declaration would “undermine the administration’s ability to respond effectively to the ongoing crisis at the Southern Border.”

Republicans said Democrats were driven by politics and a desire to oppose Trump at every turn, and said Trump had clear authority to declare an emergency to protect the country. They also defended the president’s claims of a security crisis along the boundary with Mexico, which he has said is ravaged by drug smugglers, human traffickers and immigrants trying to sneak into the U.S. illegally.

“We are at war on the Southern border with the drug cartels,” said Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas.

Trump has asserted that barriers would stop drugs from Mexico from entering the U.S. In fact, government figures show that 90 per cent of drugs intercepted from Mexico are caught at ports of entry, not remote areas where barriers would be constructed.

Democrats said Republicans repeatedly accused former President Barack Obama of flouting the Constitution, which gives Congress control over spending, but are ignoring Trump’s effort to do the same.

“Is your oath of office to Donald Trump, or is your oath of office to the Constitution?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked Republicans.

They said Trump’s push for the wall reflected a continuation of the anti-immigrant views that helped fuel his election.

Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Immediate deal to reinstate AMHS in Prince Rupert not out of the question: Mayor Brain

B.C., Alaska officials fail to sign ferry deal in Juneau to reinstate service from Ketchikan

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

Haida Gwaii art gala seeks submissions

Annual fundraiser supports local artists and programs

PHOTO GALLERY: Masset takes off on Terry Fox Run

More than $1,000 raised for Terry Fox Foundation

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Most Read