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US House passes bill to void Trump emergency

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U.S. President Donald Trump attends the National African American History Month Reception at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump, the House of Representatives on Tuesday brushed aside veto threats and passed legislation to terminate the emergency he declared at the US-Mexico border in order to build a wall there.

By a vote of 245-182, the House passed the resolution, setting up a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate where the resolution’s chances were slimmer, but seemed to be improving.

While passage was a victory for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the tally was short of what she would likely need to override a possible veto by Republican Trump. Only 13 Republicans supported the move to stop the president’s declaration.

During floor debate, Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro, the main sponsor of the controversial legislation, said, “There is no emergency at the border,” adding, “Border crossings are at a four-decades low.”

Hours before the House vote, Republican Senator John Barrasso, a member of the Senate’s leadership, told MSNBC in an interview that the legislation “may actually pass the Senate.”

Following a closed meeting of Republican senators and Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to predict the outcome, including whether senators ultimately could override a Trump veto.

Meanwhile, the White House formally notified Congress, as expected, that if the measure passes Congress, Mr Trump’s advisers would recommend that he veto it in order to maintain the power he activated on February 15 as a way of circumventing Congress.

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