House vote to override veto of resolution reversing national border wall emergency today


The House on Tuesday will try — and fail — to overturn President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional resolution killing his national wall emergency, because followers of the personality cult of Donald Trump are more loyal to their cult leader than the Constitution and their oath of office. House set for failure on vote to overturn Trump’s border emergency veto:

[E]ven as some members of the GOP face a backlash for defying Trump, few if any House Republican defectors who supported the disapproval resolution are expected to flip their votes and side with the president in the override vote, according to lawmakers and aides.

After the effort to block Trump’s veto fails, the fight over his attempt to use executive action to build a border wall will shift to the courts, where its fate is far less certain.

The Courts will have to take judicial notice of the fact that the resolution was passed in the House and Senate by overwhelming majorities.

Trump’s veto is a self-serving act of defiance of Congress. The failure to override the veto will be due to his sycophant cult followers enabling his power grab over the congressional power of the purse, in violation of their oath of office and duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. They are unfit to serve in Congress.

Democrats plan to hammer House Republicans who don’t vote to block the veto and make it as politically painful as possible for the GOP, which had pleaded with Trump not to declare a national emergency. But many of them also acknowledged it was the only way to get the strong-willed president to avoid another government shutdown.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top deputies have been billing the disapproval measure as a constitutional duty, rather than as a partisan ploy by newly emboldened Democrats who seem eager to humiliate Trump. And Democrats have also suggested that they may bring up the resolution for a vote every six months, which is allowed under the National Emergencies Act and would repeatedly pose an uncomfortable loyalty test for the GOP.

“The House and Senate resoundingly rejected the President’s lawless power grab, yet the President has chosen to continue to defy the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people,” Pelosi said in a statement announcing the vote. “House Republicans will have to choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution.”

To bolster their case, Democrats will also point to the big bipartisan vote in the Senate, where 12 Republicans bucked Trump to back the resolution.

Craven coward Republicans are worried about facing primary challenges and other forms of punishment for bucking Trump from his sycophant personality cult followers.

On Monday, Pentagon announces $1 billion transfer for border barriers, angering Democrats:

The Pentagon announced Monday night that it has authorized the transfer of up to $1 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers to build additional barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, a move that drew sharp objections from Democratic lawmakers.

The shift in funds, which the Pentagon justified under President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, will facilitate the construction of 57 miles of “pedestrian fencing,” road construction and lighting along stretches of the border in Arizona and Texas.

Ten senators, including Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, objected to the move, saying in a letter that the Pentagon had not sought approval of congressional defense committees.

“As a result, we have serious concerns that the Department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues facing our military,” said the letter to acting secretary of defense Patrick M. Shanahan and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. “The $1 billion reprogramming that the Department is implementing without congressional approval constitutes a dollar-for-dollar theft from other readiness needs of our Armed Forces.”

The move was in keeping with what the Trump administration has pledged to try to make good on Trump’s vanity project of building a “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border. (I guess fencing counts as a wall now).

Greg Weiner, a political scientist and a senior Senate aide to former Senator Bob Kerrey writes, Our Constitutional Emergency:

During the June 1788 convention at which Virginia ratified the Constitution, Patrick Henry, a critic of the proposed government, accused James Madison, its foremost defender, of failing to protect against corrupt or lawless politicians. “Is there no virtue among us?” Madison replied. “If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure.”

That exchange is worth recalling as the House of Representatives prepares for a vote scheduled for Tuesday on whether to override President Trump’s veto of a congressional resolution to nullify the national emergency he declared to build a border wall. The House is almost certain to fail to muster the two-thirds majority required of both legislative chambers to override a presidential veto. It seems likely that the Senate, for its part, will not even do its constitutional duty and try. Republicans, especially Republican senators, are being justifiably excoriated for failing to defend congressional authority.

But blaming them alone misdiagnoses the constitutional problem. Congress’s impotence indicates an appalling failure of constitutional awareness and education in the United States. The Republican base — like the Democratic base during President Barack Obama’s tenure — is demanding, and getting, a constitution of expediency rather than of law.

As many observers have noted, the Republican senators who criticized the emergency declaration and then voted to uphold it — Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina foremost among them — all face re-election in 2020. Mr. Trump is popular in their states, and their constituents are evidently more concerned with building a border wall than with the constitutional niceties according to which it is funded. These senators’ failure to “refine and enlarge the public views,” in Madison’s phrase, is a dereliction of their duty under Article I of the Constitution. But the root problem is the constitutional views that elected officials are supposed to refine.

One Republican senator who voted against the emergency declaration, Roy Blunt of Missouri, was disinvited from a political event in his state by a local party official who demanded of him, “Why could you not support my president in the emergency declaration?” So long as the public does not care whether Congress protects its institutional turf — or, worse, is hostile to it doing so — the constitutional architecture cannot stand.

“The power whose use one celebrates today will be wielded by a leader with whom one disagrees tomorrow.”

Crucially, [citizens] will not tolerate members of Congress who surrender legislative authority, even for results to some voters’ momentary liking, because they will prioritize enduring constitutionalism over transient policies. They will realize, too, that maintaining legislative authority, which is more immediately responsive to local concerns, serves their own interests as well.

* * *

None of this excuses members of Congress from their duties, which sometimes include withstanding public opinion. Even the Democratic justification for an override vote sure to fail is, as the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, put it, to create a record so the issue can be resolved by the courts.

* * *

As for the Senate, one purpose of its members’ six-year terms is to enable what Madison called “great firmness” in resisting public whims and defending constitutional principles. So much for that. Every legislator is accountable for how he or she votes on the emergency declaration, but Madison expected those immediately facing re-election to capitulate more easily to public opinion. There are worse political sins. Harsher criticism should be reserved for senators who caved without facing immediate electoral consequences.

But their constituents who demanded this constitutional surrender — especially those who profess fidelity to the Constitution as the bedrock of their politics — deserve the sternest rebuke. It is an axiom of republican politics that everyone incurs criticism sooner or later, except the people. Yet if the people care solely about expediency at the expense of law, we are in a “wretched situation” from which the Constitution will not rescue us.

As Cassius says in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” The fault is that th GOP has become the Party of Trump, a personality cult of Donald Trump. And our Constitution is now imperiled. As James Madison said, “we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure.”

UPDATE: The House voted 248-181 to override President Trump’s veto, falling short of the roughly 290 votes needed.for a two-thirds majority. Only 14 GOP lawmakers opted to break party lines and rebuke the president’s emergency declaration for a second time:

GOP Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Francis Rooney (Fla.), Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.), Greg Walden (Ore.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Will Hurd (Texas), John Katko (N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick Pa.)

All Democrats voted for the measure.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement shortly after the vote regarding the next steps they would take.

“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,” the lawmakers said in the joint statement.

“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.”