On Tuesday, the House voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border.  The 245-to-182 vote was mostly along party lines, with 13 Republicans defecting to side with Democrats on a vote that effectively became a test of GOP loyalty to President Trump.

Most Republicans fell in line with the President’s decision to try to circumvent Congress to get billions of dollars for his border wall.  As a result, the vote fell well short of the two-thirds majority that would be required to overcome the President’s threatened veto.

Democrats argued that Trump’s claim of a crisis at the border was baseless. “We are not going to give any president, Democratic or Republican, a blank check to shred the Constitution of the United States,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on the floor ahead of the vote.  “Is your oath of office to Donald Trump or is your oath of office to the Constitution of the United States,” Pelosi said.

Republicans countered that Democrats were ignoring a real crisis at the boarder and said that the President was well withing his rights to declare a national emergency, since he was acting under provisions of a law passed by Congress-the National Emergencies Act of 1976.

“There is a national emergency at the southern border that the Democrats will declare today does not exist,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).  “The president has the authority to do it, and we will uphold him.”

President Trump issued the emergency declaration February 15 as part of a deal to keep the government open after a 35-day shutdown.  The president agreed to sign a spending bill that keeps the government funded through September 30 and provides $1,375 billion for 55 miles of fencing along the border. However, President Trump said he needed more.  The administration plans to redirect an additional $6.7 billion from several sources, including $3.6 billion from military construction projects that can be obtained via the emergency declaration.

The resolution of disapproval must now be taken up by the Senate, where three Republicans have already declared their support.  The Senate will have approximately 18 days to take it up set by the National Emergencies Act.  The law also specifies that passage in the Senate requires only a simple majority, not the 60-vote supermajority often required in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Senate would take up the disapproval resolution before the next congressional recess,which is scheduled to begin March 18.  McConnell said Republican senators agree that there is a crisis at the southern border but that “there are are different points of view about how to address that, and all of that will be dealt with publicly on the floor before we have the vote.”