President Trump vetoed a measure Tuesday night that terminated his emergency declaration to divert military construction funds for building a wall along the southern border.
In his veto message, which was expected, Mr. Trump said “the situation on our southern border remains a national emergency, and our armed forces are still needed to help confront it.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper agreed last month to transfer $3.6 billion from the Pentagon’s budget for the border wall, essentially by defunding 127 military construction projects under emergency powers.
Mr. Trump said his declaration in February under the National Emergencies Act “has empowered my administration’s government-wide strategy to counter large-scale unlawful migration and to respond to corresponding humanitarian challenges through focused application of every Constitutional and statutory authority at our disposal.”
“It has also facilitated the military’s ongoing construction of virtually insurmountable physical barriers along hundreds of miles of our southern border,” he said. “The southern border, however, continues to be a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics to come into our country.”
The Senate is expected to vote this week on overriding the veto, but the effort will likely fail to gain the necessary two-thirds majority.
The president said the ongoing crisis at the southern border “threatens core national security interests.”
“In addition, security challenges at the southern border exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian crisis that threatens the well-being of vulnerable populations, including women and children,” Mr. Trump said in his veto message.
He said his emergency declaration “was neither a new nor novel application of executive authority,” saying it was the 60th time that a president has invoked the law since 1976.
Both the House and Senate approved the resolution seeking to overturn the president’s use of military construction funds for the wall, but neither chamber mustered a two-thirds majority in doing so.
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