Reports say lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have voted to revoke President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over building a US-Mexico border wall despite veto threats by the White House.
The Democratic-controlled chamber blocked on Tuesday Trump’s emergency declaration by a margin of 245-182, however, falling short of overriding the possibility a presidential veto.
Thirteen Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in voting to “terminate” Trump’s emergency declaration, which he issued on February 15 after failing to secure the $5.6 billion needed to fund the construction of the border wall through congressional negotiations.
Under the emergency, the US president would appropriate a total of $8 billion previously approved by Congress for other purposes, notably the Pentagon budget for military construction projects.
The Tuesday vote dealt a blow to the American head of state by preventing him from obtaining funds for his wall through the emergency declaration and without congressional approval.
The bill will now go to the Republican-led Senate, with Trump having already vowed to veto the measure should it reach the White House.
Democrats had a day earlier denounced the emergency declaration as a “power grab” by the president and a violation of the US Constitution.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is viewed as the leader of opposition to Trump’s policies, said the emergency order was an unconstitutional attempt to expand executive authority and strip US lawmakers of the power to control how federal funds are spent.
“The president’s power grab usurps that responsibility and fundamentally violates the balance of power envisioned by our founders. This isn’t about the border. This is about the constitution of the United States. This is not about politics. It’s not about partisanship. It’s about patriotism,” said Pelosi.
Reacting to a potential vote against the emergency order, Trump had said he would be “100 percent” certain to issue a veto and the White House reiterated that on Tuesday.
“The current situation at the southern border presents a humanitarian and security crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency. The southern border is a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics,” the White House claimed in a statement
Democrats have also vowed a legal challenge to Trump’s declaration, either by filing a suit of their own or piling on litigation already emerging from states and outside groups.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of 58 former US national security officials issued a statement on Monday, saying Trump had “no factual basis” to declare a national emergency to build a wall.