In the nearly 243-year history of the United States of America, its first 44 presidents have issued a grand total of 2,574 vetoes. On March 15 of his third year occupying the White House, Donald Trump issued veto #1. The vetoed legislation would have reversed Trump’s national emergency declaration that will allocate funds to continue the building of a wall along the nation’s southwest land border with Mexico. Twelve Republican Senators including Rob Portman of Ohio joined with Democrats to give the resolution a 59-41 majority support.
Despite supporting the President in his efforts to secure the border, Ohio’s junior Senator disagreed with how Trump used executive authority to distribute the money needed to do so. Portman said, “For a president to go around congress explicitly and say ‘I’m going to use my national emergency powers not to access funds that are authorized to me but to access funds that are not authorized to me except under an emergency’ is something that has never been done before… my worry is that by taking on this issue, which is really a constitutional issue, it sets a precedent… where a future president, Republican or Democrat, can use it for a project of his or her choosing…”
During an interview with NPR, Senator Lindsey Graham discussed why he supports the national emergency declaration. “I think Congress is failing to do what it should do. Congress, in the past, has passed legislation – $44 billion in 2013 for border security, 9 billion for barriers. We all voted for a $25 billion border security package. So all of a sudden to say that the border is not broken is unusual. I hate that the president has to use this statute. But it’s a statutory grant to the president. It’s been used 50 times. And I’m willing to support him this time,” Graham said.
Democrats, both currently in Congress and those running for office, were united against the national emergency declaration. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Beto O’Rourke, 2020 Democratic candidate for President, voiced his concerns about Trump’s rhetoric regarding immigration. O’Rourke describes the President’s plan for the border wall as “A racist response to a problem we don’t have.”
Trump and supporters of his declaration spoke on why increased border security is necessary. These advocates for the national emergency who stood behind the President in the Oval Office included VP Pence, ‘angel parents,’ AG William Barr, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson and numerous law enforcement officers and border patrol agents.
While those in the political arena had an abundance of comments on the issue, young people were also given a chance to show where they stood. A poll embedded in my Instagram story was up for live voting in the 24 hours following the veto. The poll which offered “Yes,” and “No” as possible options posed the question: “Do you agree with Trump’s actions on border security?” Of the more than 150 student responses, 57% replied “No,” while the other 43% voted “Yes.” This result was comparable to the ratio of the reaction to the similar proposition in the US Senate.
According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on March 26 on a measure to attempt to override Trump’s veto.
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