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House Dems Introduce Measure to Block Trump’s National Emergency

Representative Joaquin Castro (D, Texas) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., July 25, 2018. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

House Democrats on Friday introduced a measure that would block President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall.

The measure, sponsored by Representative Joaquin Castro of Texas and cosponsored by 222 others, is a response to last week’s national-emergency declaration, which was intended to free up $8 billion of federal money for the construction of the concrete border wall the president promised during his campaign. Trump made the move after Congress refused to appropriate the $5.7 billion he requested for the wall, granting him only $1.375 billion for barriers on the border.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a letter to House Democrats, encouraged them to vote for the resolution and said the House will “move swiftly” to pass it.

“President Trump’s emergency declaration proclamation undermines the separation of powers and Congress’s power of the purse, a power exclusively reserved by the text of the Constitution to the first branch of government, the Legislative branch, a branch co-equal to the Executive,” Pelosi wrote.

In the Republican-majority Senate, the resolution would need some GOP support to pass. Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Thom Tillis, Lamar Alexander, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, and Rand Paul have expressed concern at Trump’s declaration, which raises the possibility that Castro’s measure might pass. But if it did, the two-thirds majorities needed to override Trump’s veto in the House and Senate would likely be hard to come by.

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