Senate Fails to Override Trump Veto Over Funding for Border Wall

The Senate didn’t get enough votes to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that, if it had gone through, would have ended the emergency declaration that included an order to use national security funds to build the wall at the southern border.

The vote on Thursday was 53-36.

Ten Republicans sided with Democrats in voting to try to override the veto: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Trump vetoed an identical resolution from the House on March 15, a day after the Senate approved that resolution 59-41.

“Today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said, calling the congressional resolution “reckless” and “dangerous.”

He said the flood of illegal immigrants amounted to an “invasion,” adding that there is “nowhere left to hold all of the people that we’re capturing.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who opposed the resolution, said he believed Trump was “operating within existing law” and that if senators did not like the powers provided to the president under the National Emergencies Act, “then they should amend it.”

The House tried and failed to override Trump’s veto of H.J. Res. 46 about two weeks later. The vote was 248-181.

Trump declared a national emergency on the border on Feb. 15.

The Senate on Sept. 25 passed the new resolution, S.J. Res. 54, 54-41.

Border Patrol agents overlook the Rio Grande towards Mexico on the Roma Bluffs near Rio Grande City, Texas, on March 22, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Border Patrol apprehends illegal aliens who have just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, on April 18, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Eleven Republicans voted with Democrats. Ten were the same as this week. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) also voted for the resolution in that case.

The resolution was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is hereby terminated,” it stated.

Trump vetoed the Senate resolution this week, saying his reasons for doing so remained the same for doing so with the House resolution.

“Proclamation 9844 has helped the Federal Government address the national emergency on our southern border. It has empowered my Administration’s Government-wide strategy to counter large-scale unlawful migration and to respond to corresponding humanitarian challenges through focused application of every Constitutional and statutory authority at our disposal. It has also facilitated the military’s ongoing construction of virtually insurmountable physical barriers along hundreds of miles of our southern border,” he said in a message explaining the veto.

“The southern border, however, continues to be a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics to come into our country. As explained in Proclamation 9844, in my veto message regarding H.J. Res. 46, and in congressional testimony from multiple Administration officials, the ongoing crisis at the southern border threatens core national security interests. In addition, security challenges at the southern border exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian crisis that threatens the well-being of vulnerable populations, including women and children,” he continued.

“In short, the situation on our southern border remains a national emergency, and our Armed Forces are still needed to help confront it.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber