US House members will vote Tuesday on a measure to undo the national emergency president Trump declared in order to fund the $5.7 billion border wall he has long promised supporters, House speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on a conference call this morning (Feb. 22).
The measure, introduced by Democratic congressman Joaquín Castro from Texas, would render Trump’s declaration void. On the same call, Castro said the bill already has “about 226 or 227 co-sponsors,” including one Republican, Michigan congressman Justin Amash. That’s more than the 218 votes the plan needs to pass the Democratic-controlled House.
However, the measure will face a tough battle in the Republican-held Senate. Democrats need just three Republican votes, and GOP senator Susan Collins of Maine has said she will vote in favor of the resolution. But it’s unclear where the other two would come from. Trump also insists that he will veto the legislation if it comes to his desk. To override a presidential veto, the resolution would need two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate, which is unlikely.
Trump’s emergency declaration currently faces lawsuits filed by 16 US states.
Castro, who represents a district in the San Antonio area, said he introduced the measure because there is no crisis at the border. Illegal crossings are at a 12-year low. Yet, he said, the US has more resources committed to the border “than we have ever had in our nation’s history.” “The president is declaring a national emergency to fulfill a campaign promise, not because there is an actual emergency,” he added.
Castro said he’s reaching out to colleagues between now and Monday to garner more bipartisan support from legislators for his proposal.
Pelosi said the measure is necessary to get the White House to back off from what is a congressional responsibility: assigning funds. She described the president as “lawless,” accusing him of staging an “institutional assault” on the separation of powers in government. Pelosi said she is prepared to “defend our system of checks and balances,” which something she believes every lawmaker should support, regardless of party affiliation.
“This isn’t about politics, it’s not about partisanship,” Pelosi said. “It’s about patriotism.”