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  • New bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing is seen in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, U.S., March 5, 2019.

    New bollard-style U.S.-Mexico border fencing is seen in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, U.S., March 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 March 2019

With a 248-181 tally, Democrats who control the Lower Chamber of Congress did not attract enough Republican support falling short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to overturn Trump’s veto.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday failed to override President Donald Trump’s Senate veto, leaving in place the “national emergency” he declared last month to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. 

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With a 248-181 tally, Democrats who control the Lower Chamber of Congress did not attract enough Republican support falling short of the two-thirds majority vote needed to overturn Trump’s veto. An executive measure that the President used after the Upper Chamber reached a bipartisan agreement to terminate the national emergency on March 14.

However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro, author of the resolution said lawmakers would keep trying to block him through the regular congressional process of appropriating funds, as well as reviewing his “fake” emergency declaration again six months from now.

The “national emergency” on the southern border was declared following the rejection of Trump’s budget demand in 2019, which gave him broad and special executive powers, under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Especially those to divert federal money towards his campaign promise.

At the moment, Trump has redirected US$601 million in Treasury Department forfeiture funds, US$2.5 billion in Defense Department drug interdiction funds and US$3.6 billion from a military construction budget, for total spending of US$8.1 billion for the wall. 

Last week, the Pentagon gave Congress a list that included US$12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected for construction. This was materialized on Monday as the U.S. Department of Defense shifted US$1 billion towards this purpose, but the next day, Tuesday, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee denied the Pentagon’s request.

“The committee does not approve the proposed use of Department of Defense funds to construct additional physical barriers and roads or install lighting in the vicinity of the United States border,” Chairman of the Committee Adam Smith said in a letter.

The whole wall funding request is based off a 2017 project presented by Customs and Border Protection officials to build or replace 1,162 km of fence along the Mexican border, with a total estimated cost of about US$18 billion. At the moment only 179 km have been built or are underway.
e funds to construct additional physical barriers and roads or install lighting in the vicinity of the United States border,” Smith said in a letter to the Department of Defense.

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