By Jon Dougherty
On Friday Democrats in the House will introduce legislation aimed at preventing POTUS Donald Trump from using funds not specifically appropriated for other things to build portions of wall and fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border under his emergency declaration.
But their effort is likely all for naught.
When asked about the bill Democrats are putting forth in the House, where they have enough votes to pass it, the president said he would “100 percent” veto the legislation if it should make it to his desk.
“Will I veto it? One-hundred percent,” the president said.
The Washington Times notes that POTUS also believes should he be forced to issue his first veto Congress wouldn’t be able to override it:
The National Emergencies Act gives him power to rearrange money, but it also lays out a process for Congress to block him. It takes a proactive vote in each chamber.
The initial votes are by majority, which Democrats say they’ll easily attain in the House, and even in the Senate, they are likely to find enough votes. But the president can then veto that move, and it takes a two-thirds majority to override him
House Republicans said they can muster enough support to prevent that.
A vote on the bill will come Tuesday according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), where it will surely pass. And as far as that goes, some analysts believe the measure could also pass in the GOP-controlled Senate because several Republicans are unhappy with his use of an emergency declaration to reappropriate funds away from the Pentagon, mostly for needed construction projects.
The Associated Press reported:
A staff aide introduced the measure during a short pro forma session of the House in which Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., presided over an almost empty chamber.
“What the president is attempting is an unconstitutional power grab,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, the sponsor of the resolution, on a call with reporters. “There is no emergency at the border.”
Pelosi added that the measure would “reassert our system of checks and balances.”
Should the House and the Senate initially approve the measure, Congress seems unlikely to muster the two-thirds majorities in each chamber that would be needed later to override a certain Trump veto.
Castro said he has already garnered support from a majority of the Democratic-controlled House as co-sponsors and that he has at least one GOP sponsor, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.
Castro’s measure says Trump’s emergency declaration “is hereby terminated.” Castro chairs the 38-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Pelosi wrote that Trump’s “decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated.”
As for using Defense Department funds, Pentagon officials said Friday that DoD was “months” away from approving any funds for border wall construction, according to Breaking Defense:
More troops are heading to the US border with Mexico, Pentagon officials said on Friday. That brings the number deployed from the current 5,000 to about 6,000, even as the Pentagon considers transferring close to $4 billion to support the Border Patrol and build infrastructure. About 2,100 of the troops deployed currently are National Guard, the other 3,000 or so active-duty regulars.
While the troops will be on the move, it will still be “months” before the Pentagon can begin spending any of that money, even without the entanglements of multiple lawsuits already working their way through the court system.
A defense official speaking on the condition of anonymity told reporters at the Pentagon Friday that no money will be moving any time soon.
“We talking a matter of weeks for the [initial] assessment leading up to a decision” by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, the official said. “And we’re looking at months for the actual implementation to the point of construction — breaking ground. And we’re talking longer than months for the completion of the construction.”
That vague sketch of a timeline is as close as we’ve been able to come to understanding how long the process might take for the Pentagon to funnel military construction funds toward roads, fencing, and lighting along the southern border.
That said, the spending bill that POTUS Trump signed to keep the government open ahead of his emergency declaration did contain nearly $1.4 billion for border wall construction this year.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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