Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Trump uses veto power to overturn congressional resolution

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Ellis Copeland | 15 March, 2019, 23:08

President Donald Trump on Friday vetoed a measure to terminate his emergency declaration over a border wall, striking back at Republican and Democratic lawmakers who opposed the controversial move with the first veto of his presidency.

Congress will now need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override him, which is unlikely to happen.

"Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it", he said, calling it a "Democrat-sponsored resolution".

Mr Trump said that, since 1976, a total of 56 national emergencies have been declared but Congress has not vetoed any of them.

The President was flanked by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Attorney General William Barr and number of other law enforcement officials. "You're keeping your word by vetoing this legislation".

The Senate voted Thursday by a margin of 59 to 41 to block Trump's declaration that an emergency on the border with Mexico requires the construction of a wall, a project for which Congress has not appropriated money.

The president had threatened a veto of the resolution.

"I'd like to thank all of the Great Republican Senators who bravely voted for Strong Border Security and the WALL", Trump tweeted ahead of his veto action.

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In declaring an emergency on February 15, Trump cited drug smuggling across the border from Mexico (misleading), the drop in crime in El Paso, Texas, after a partial border barricade was built there (not true) and reports of women kidnapped, bound with tape and trafficked into the United States across unguarded sections of the border (no evidence exists of this).

The president made a border wall a central promise of his 2016 campaign for the White House.

"We're bursting at the seams, we can only hold so much", he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced soon after the veto that the House would attempt to override it, after returning from a recess later this month.

"House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution", she added.

Recent months have seen a surge in unauthorized crossings of the USA border with Mexico.

Trump insists he's on solid legal ground, however. "Think of that", he said. "Ideally, they shouldn't even sue in this case, if you want to know the truth".

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