House Democrats on Tuesday failed to override President Trump’s first veto as part of their battle over border security, representing a victory for the administration that allows the president's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border to stand.
The president had vetoed a Democrat-backed measure to cancel that emergency. The House voted 248-181 on Tuesday in favor of overriding – but this fell 38 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed. Only 14 Republicans voted in favor of the veto override.
The outcome of the vote, while not surprising, now enables Trump to move forward on an issue that was a hallmark of his 2016 presidential campaign and of his presidency. Yet the vote also gave Democrats a way to focus on policy differences with Trump, days after Attorney General William Barr gave the president a boost by saying Special Counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Trump had declared the border emergency under a law that lets him shift budget funds to address dire situations. His plan is to shift an additional $3.6 billion from military construction projects to work on border barriers. Congress voted this year to limit spending on such barriers to less than $1.4 billion, and Democrats accused Trump of ignoring lawmakers' constitutional control over spending.