CHN: Trump Issues First Veto, but Fight over Emergency Declaration Continues

President Trump issued the first veto of his presidential term on Friday, March 15, the day after 12 Senate Republicans crossed the aisle and joined all Democrats in approving a resolution that would terminate the President’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.

The veto and the vote in the Senate came after the House approved an identical resolution in late February by a vote of 245-182. House leaders now say they will attempt to override Trump’s veto on Tuesday, March 26, after they return from the current Congressional recess. A veto override is not expected to be successful, given that a two-thirds majority is needed and only 13 House Republicans crossed over to join Democrats in approving the resolution. However, Trump’s veto will not be the last word on the matter.

First, a number of lawsuits are expected to be filed arguing that Trump has exceeded his authority as President. The first lawsuit was filed last month by 16 state attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra. (Since then, more states have signed on.)

Second, under the National Emergencies Act, both chambers of Congress are authorized – if not compelled – to hold votes on the emergency declaration every six months, as long as it remains in force. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has indicated that these votes will take place. (The National Emergencies Act states, “Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.”)

Third, Senate Republicans, worried that Congress could be abdicating its constitutional power-of-the-purse responsibilities to the executive branch, are contemplating amending the National Emergencies Act to require that both chambers of Congress affirmatively vote to support a president’s declaration of an emergency within 30 days of the emergency being declared, in order for it to continue in effect.

Democrats (and some Republicans) argue that Trump’s emergency declaration amounts to an unconstitutional effort to spend tax dollars on his proposed wall along the southern border – money that Congress has not appropriated for that purpose. Democrats further argue that there is no southern border crisis. Some Republicans counter that a national emergency does, in fact, exist, and it is within the President’s authority to transfer funds.