House Democrats to File Resolution on Trump’s Border Emergency

Representative Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from Texas, speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Democrats in the U.S. House plan to file a resolution on Friday seeking to block President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas outlined plans to introduce the measure in an email circulated to colleagues that was obtained Wednesday by Bloomberg News. The resolution has 92 co-sponsors in the Democratic-controlled House.

The resolution is likely to pass the House and may get enough Republican support to pass the GOP-led Senate. Trump has vowed to veto it.

Trump last week signed an emergency declaration to divert certain military funding for wall construction, after Congress approved only $1.375 billion of the $5.7 billion he sought in a bipartisan budget bill.

The president plans to unilaterally shift nearly $7 billion in federal funds to construct physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In addition to the resolution from the House, 16 states have filed a lawsuit challenging the declaration.

The draft of the House resolution being circulated would state that the national emergency declared by Trump on Feb. 15 “is hereby terminated.” If the House were to pass it, the Senate would be required to take it up within 18 days, creating a difficult choice for Republicans who control that chamber 53-47.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday night in her own “Dear Colleague” letter invited all fellow Democrats to co-sponsor the resolution. She said the House would “move swiftly” to pass the bill, reporting it out of committee within 15 calendar days and considering it on the floor within 3 calendar days after that.

If passed by the Senate and vetoed by Trump, each chamber would need a two-thirds majority to override the veto. That threshold would be difficult to achieve even in the House, which Democrats control 235-197.

The resolution presents a potential political headache for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, in any initial vote and possible veto override effort against a president from his own party.

McConnell said on the Senate floor that he told the president he supports the emergency declaration as Trump decided to sign a spending bill to avoid a second government shutdown. The majority leader had said two weeks earlier he hoped to avoid such a declaration.

But a number of McConnell’s Senate Republican colleagues said they’re concerned that the president is overreaching his executive powers.

GOP Senator Susan Collins said in her home state of Maine Wednesday that she would vote for a congressional resolution disapproving of Trump’s emergency declaration, as long as it focused only on the declaration, the Associated Press reported. She said the president’s action “completely undermines” the role of Congress and is of “dubious constitutionality,” the AP said.

Other Republican senators expressing doubts about the declaration include Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Some Republicans also have opposed taking defense funds to pay for the wall. DM


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