On Friday, President Trump vetoed the decision by Congress to overturn his use of an emergency declaration for border wall funding.
The president explained the reasoning behind his decision to veto during remarks at the White House:
As president, the protection of the nation is my highest duty. Yesterday, Congress passed a dangerous resolution that, if signed into law, would put countless Americans in danger, very grave danger. The Democrat-sponsored resolution would terminate vital border security operations by revoking the national emergency issued last month. It is definitely a national emergency. Rarely have we had such a national emergency.
Therefore, to defend the safety and security of all Americans, I will be signing and issuing a formal veto of this reckless resolution – and that’s what it was. And I have to, in particular, thank the Republican … senators that were on our side and on the side of border security and on the side of doing what they have to to keep our nation safe. They were very courageous yesterday, and I appreciate that very much.
The president went on to speak about the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States, using the word “invasion” multiple times:
Congress’ vote to deny the crisis on the southern border is a vote against reality. …It is a tremendous national emergency. It it a tremendous crisis. Last month, more than 76,000 illegal migrants arrived at our border. We’re on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders. People hate the word “invasion,” but that’s what it is – it’s an invasion of drugs, and criminals, and people. We have no idea who they are, but we capture them because border security is so good, but they’re put in a very bad position, and we’re bursting at the seams…
The president also castigated the Democrats in Congress, who he claimed could strike a deal with him “in fifteen minutes” to change “catch and release,” “asylum laws,” the “visa lottery,” and “chain migration.”
He continued to explain his decision, noting the National Emergencies Act of 1976:
One in three migrant women is sexually assaulted on the journey north. The border crisis is driving the drug crisis. 70,000 Americans a year are killed by drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl…
The mass incursion of illegal aliens, deadly drugs, dangerous weapons, and criminal gang members across our borders has to end…
The national emergency I declared last month was authorized by Congress under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, and there haven’t been too many that are bigger [emergencies] than we have right at our own border. Consistent with the law and the legislative process designed by our Founders, today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it, and I’m very proud to veto it…
On Thursday, the Senate voted (59-41) to overturn Trump’s national emergency declaration. On February 26, the House of Representatives voted 245-182 to do the same. Several prominent Senate Republicans stood with the Democrats against the president’s emergency declaration, including Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Rand Paul (R-KY).
Trump’s emergency declaration would reallocate approximately $8.1 billion from the Department of Defense (as well as other areas) to begin construction of a southern border barrier.
The official White House breakdown is as follows:
About $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund.
Up to $2.5 billion under the Department of Defense funds transferred for Support for Counterdrug Activities (Title 10 United States Code, section 284).
Up to $3.6 billion reallocated from Department of Defense military construction projects under the President’s declaration of a national emergency (Title 10 United States Code, section 2808).
Article 1, Section 7 of the United States Constitution, which deals with the veto process, states in part:
If he [the president] approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.
According to The Hill, the House will attempt to override the president’s veto on March 26, but because a two-thirds majority is necessary to issue such an override, it’s unlikely to find success.