2012 Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, one of 12 Republicans joining Senate Democrats in overriding Donald Trump’s “national emergency” (Sarah Silbiger/New York Times)

The US Senate overrides Donald Trump’s “national emergency” to fund his Wall with Mexico, pushing Trump towards the first veto of his Presidency.

The Senate rejected Trump’s declaration, issued on February 15, by a 59-41 vote. Twelve Republicans joined all 47 Democrats to deliver the blow against Trump’s attempts to seize $8.2 billion for his $25 billion, 30-foot tall barrier on the US-Mexico border.

The Democrat-controlled House decisively overrode the declaration last month.

GOP Senator Lamar Alexander summarized:

Never before has a President asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the President then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway.

Our nation’s founders gave to Congress the power to approve all spending so that the president would not have too much power. This check on the executive is a crucial source of our freedom.

Fellow Republican Jerry Moran wrote, in a statement written on lined paper: “I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution. This continues our country down the path of all powerful executive — something those who wrote the Constitution were fearful of.”

Significantly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a constant shield for Trump and his ambitions, refused to do so on this occassion, according to GOP aides and legislators.

McConnell reportedly warned Trump, just before the February 15 declaration, that he had only two weeks to make his case. The Majority Leader refrained this week from pressuring senators to support the White House.


Trump, who began Thursday imploring Republicans to support him — “A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” — responded immediately to the vote:

He expanded on his thoughts a half-hour later:

The House vote to override the upcoming veto is expected on March 26, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

If the House cannot gather the two-thirds majority to override, Democartic leaders have promised to keep reviving the issue as Trump tries to take $6.6 billion from agencies for the Wall, mainly from military counter-narcotics and construction projects.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “I believe the law allows us to bring it up every six months. And certainly we would intend to do that.”

There are also several lawsuits challenging the legality of Trump’s declaration, seizure of funds, and start of Wall construction in the US near the Mexico border.