President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is “prepared to veto” legislation that would end his national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Senate was poised to pass the bill later in the day.
“I am prepared to veto, if necessary,” Trump said in an early morning tweet sent as the Senate prepared to take up the measure later in the day.
Trump’s tweet also promoted his view of the “Nightmare” at the border:
“A big National Emergency vote today by The United States Senate on Border Security & the Wall (which is already under major construction). I am prepared to veto, if necessary. The Southern Border is a National Security and Humanitarian Nightmare, but it can be easily fixed!”
If Trump follows through on his promise, it would be the first veto of his administration.
He took more shots at Democrats in a later tweet:
“The Democrats are “Border Deniers.” They refuse to see or acknowledge the Death, Crime, Drugs and Human Trafficking at our Southern Border!”
But the measure is unlikely to become law given that a two-thirds vote of Congress is needed to override a presidential veto.
Vice President Mike Pence met with Republican senators this week to try to tamp down support for the measure, with some Republicans worried that future Democratic presidents could usurp the power of Congress to fund the government and use the emergency declarations to fund their own pet programs.
Pence told senators that Trump would back a second bill offered by Republican Senator Mike Lee, which would end future emergency declarations after 30 days unless Congress votes to extend them.
Lee said Wednesday the White House had subsequently made clear his bill did “not have an immediate path forward.” He added he would vote on Thursday to end the emergency declaration.
At stake are billions of dollars in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump is demanding but Congress has refused to fully provide. The stalemate led to a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended in January.
Under the emergency declaration Trump signed on Feb. 15, he would take money from other federal programs to build the barrier he says is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
Democrats deny there is an emergency at the border, saying border crossings are at a four-decade low.
Court challenges have also been filed asserting it is Congress, not the president, that decides how taxpayer money is spent