House Democrats Pass Bill Nullifying Trump National Emergency with Less Than Veto-Proof Majority

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol February 14, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House passed a resolution Tuesday that would nullify President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration that would allow him to build a wall along America’s southern border. The House passed the bill with less than a two-third’s majority, which would not override a potential veto.

The House passed H.J.Res. 46, 245-182, a resolution that would terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration on February 15. The vote featured strong Democrat support for the bill and little Republican support for the resolution.

The Democrat resolution passed; however, it did not obtain enough votes to potentially override Trump’s veto of the resolution, should it also pass through the Senate.

Only 13 Republicans defected and voted with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) introduced the resolution last Friday and quickly gained more than 200 cosponsors. Few House Republicans came out in support of the House resolution to nullify the national emergency; however, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) quickly came out in favor of the Democrat resolution. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) also voted for the resolution, contending that only Congress has the power to appropriate money.

Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) also voted for the Democrat resolution.

Massie tweeted, as part of a thread:

The Senate will likely take up the resolution in the next few weeks, where it appears that the bill may pass with some Republican support. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tom Tillis (R-NC) have already voiced their support for the legislation, meaning that if all 47 Senate Democrats vote for the resolution, they would only need one more Republican defector for the resolution to pass. However, it remains unclear whether Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL) or Joe Manchin (D-WV) will vote for the bill, given that they have voted for wall funding in the past.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who chairs the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said in February that a “handful” of Republicans will back the resolution; however, not Republicans will defect to override a veto.

“A handful. … [But] there will be enough [left] to sustain a veto,” Graham said.

Trump’s national emergency serves as a rallying cry for Republicans, as a poll in February found that 85 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s use of national emergency powers to build the wall along the southern border. The national emergency also bodes well for Trump as 80 percent of GOP voters said that Trump’s national emergency would make it more likely for them to vote for the president in 2020.

Trump has already signaled that he will veto the Democrat resolution should it pass through Congress and Democrats, and recalcitrant Republicans would need a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress to override the president’s veto.


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