House Votes to Overturn President’s Trump’s Emergency Declaration
By Heather Ham-Warren | February 28, 2019
Two weeks ago President Trump declared a state of emergency at the southern border, utilizing his executive powers to redirect billions of dollars towards the construction of a border wall.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to overturn the president’s declaration in an attempt to block his authority to divert funding to the border wall without congressional approval. According to the White House, up to $8.1 billion could be diverted, including: $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund, up to $2.5 billion under Department of Defense funds transferred for Support for Counterdrug Activities, up to $3.6 billion reallocation from Department of Defense military construction projects, and then $1.375 billion from the congressional spending package.
On the House floor, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) utilized her time to disavow President Trump and rebuke his efforts to secure the southern border. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took an opposite approach. “There is a national emergency at the southern border that the Democrats will declare today doesn’t exist,” said the minority leader. “The president has the authority to do it, and we will uphold him.”
Unfortunately, the resolution of disapproval passed the House by a vote of 245 – 182. Now, the resolution will be taken up by the Senate before making its way to the White House. Three Senate Republicans, Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), have already stated they will support the resolution. Should the resolution of disapproval (which only requires a simple majority) pass the upper chamber, President Trump is expected to veto it. In that instance, a two-thirds majority of both chambers is required to overturn the veto.
Since the National Emergencies Act was first signed into law in 1976, American presidents have signed a total of 58 national emergencies. Of that total number, 31 have been renewed annually and are still in effect today— one declared by former President Jimmy Carter, six declared by former President Bill Clinton, 11 by former President George W. Bush, 10 by former President Barack Obama, and three by President Trump.