Donald Trump Issues First Veto To Block Border Wall National Emergency Declaration

Leroy Wright
March 21, 2019

The legislature said no. Trump said, basically, who cares and declared an emergency so he could take funds from wherever he could find them to make good on half of his campaign promise to build his "beautiful" wall. After weeks of bickering, Republicans and Democrats agreed to in Congress in February on a compromise for a budget that allocated significantly less money than Trump demanded sum of 5.7 billion dollars for the construction of the wall.

The Defense Department will use the following criteria to reduce the list to projects that will be delayed: it will eliminate projects that have contracts awarded, it will eliminate projects related to housing, barracks or dormitories, and it will only look at projects with award dates after September 30, which ends the fiscal year.

Reactions like that have Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, puzzled over the administration's handling of the list, which he said "doesn't seem to make any political sense".

In addition to shifting $3.6 billion by using the emergency declaration, Trump ordered the reallocation of an additional $3.1 billion from the Treasury and Defense departments, which did not require an emergency declaration.

Trump once declared "I alone can fix it".

The National Emergencies Act was enacted in 1976.

The humanitarian crisis at the border the president has so often remarked about is not going away.

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"The appearance of any project within the pool does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used to source [national emergency] projects", the Defense Department said in a statement (pdf). Last year, Trump forced a government shutdown over an impasse with Congress over funding for the barrier.

In a statement after the vote, Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "The president's veto is as meaningless as his signature on the national emergency declaration".

Later on Thursday, the Senate voted to revoke the president's national emergency declaration, sending the bill to Trump's desk.

Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate to pass the measure, concerned that the president had overstepped his authority.

Some Republican legislators are struggling to decide what to do. As such, Congress holds an important role in not only representing democracy via the voice of the people but also in reversing the violent rhetoric employed by Trump to distort the reality at the border. "It is imperative that no administration, Republican or Democratic, circumvent the will of Congress", said Sensenbrenner. The House of Representatives voted 420-0 on a resolution supporting a full disclosure of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, if an when that is ever completed. But the president's budget request has already run into opposition on Capitol Hill, and Democrats have rejected the idea of "backfilling" affected Pentagon accounts in the coming budget, meaning some of the projects could face delays as a result of the wall.

Trump's agenda was stymied even before his party lost unified control of Washington at the start of the year and he has grown increasingly frustrated by his dealings with Congress, believing little of substance will get done by the end of his first term and feeling just as pessimistic about the second, according to White House aides, campaign staffers and outside allies.

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