In the first formal rejection of the Trump emergency declaration for the southern border, the House easily passed a resolution to block the proposed wall.
By a vote of 245-182, the House voted Feb. 26 to send the resolution to the Senate, where the measure to prevent the Trump administration from extending the border wall using funds allocated for other programs, probably will not pass as smoothly, although 13 Republicans sided with the Democrats.
Even so, the vote fell short of the number needed to overturn what is certain to be a Trump veto.
The Senate has an April deadline to hold its vote on the one-page resolution authored by Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Tex.), whose twin brother, Julián, is a Democratic Party candidate for U.S. President in 2020.
This vote, earlier in the week, marks the first time Congress has formally opposed a presidential emergency declaration since it was created in the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Castro and his colleagues argued that Trump’s action was unilateral and a clear-cut violation of the Congress to determine the allocation of federal funds.
“If it were truly an emergency, we’d all be there with the president,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said several hours before Tuesday’s vote, during a conference of the American Legion in Washington. “Our founders had great vision. They did not want a king.”
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) also voiced his opposition to the declaration, believing that “There is no basis in law or in fact to declare a national emergency.” Trump declared the emergency Feb. 15 soon after Congress had approved a bill to avert another government shutdown.
How all this will play out is anybody’s guess, coming as it does amid testimony from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, and Trump’s visit to Vietnam and his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.