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House Democrats' attempt to override President Donald Trump's first veto failed Tuesday, leaving the president's national emergency declaration in place for now.
The chamber fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the president's opposition to a resolution that would end his executive action. Only 14 Republicans joined with Democrats in voting to override the veto in a 248-181 vote — one more GOP representative than when the House passed the measure last month.
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who authored the resolution, said the congressional votes would "provide significant evidence for the courts as they review lawsuits" challenging the move to secure money for the president's proposed border wall. They signaled the House would vote again on ending the national emergency in six months, which lawmakers can do as long as it is in effect.
"The President's lawless emergency declaration clearly violates the Congress's exclusive power of the purse, and Congress will work through the appropriations and defense authorization processes to terminate this dangerous action and restore our constitutional system of balance of powers," they said following the vote. "In six months, the Congress will have another opportunity to put a stop to this President's wrongdoing. We will continue to review all options to protect our Constitution and our Democracy from the President's assault."
Last month, Trump declared a national emergency to divert money already approved by Congress to the construction of barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats and some Republicans worried about Trump circumventing the legislature's appropriations power after lawmakers passed only about $1.4 billion of the $5.7 billion the president sought for structures.
In a tweet later Tuesday, Trump celebrated what he called a "BIG WIN on the border."
Both the House and Senate previously passed the legislation to block the emergency declaration with bipartisan support.
Trump hopes to use the declaration to secure $3.6 billion of the $8 billion total he wants to put toward barriers on the border. It would come from the Defense Department's military construction budget. The president has argued he has the full authority to divert the funds.
Though Congress cannot terminate the emergency declaration for now, Trump's action still will face its share of scrutiny. Numerous states and outside groups have filed lawsuits challenging the declaration.
Lawsuits have in part cited Trump's own words last month, when he said "I didn't need to do this" to get border wall funding, "but I'd rather do it much faster."
After acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Monday that the Pentagon would move $1 billion away from military construction projects to build the border wall, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wa., denied the move. He said his committee had not approved it.
It still may go through, as the Pentagon will argue it has the authority to use the funds.
Trump also requested $8.6 billion for border wall construction in his fiscal 2020 budget, which could spark yet another standoff with Democrats over his signature campaign promise.