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US House Fails to Override Trump National Emergency Veto


People gather to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall, at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York, Feb. 15, 2019.

The U.S. House of Representatives failed Tuesday to override President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the nation's southern border.

The Democratic-controlled chamber voted 248-181 to override Trump's veto, but it fell 38 votes short of two-thirds majority that was needed.

Trump made the declaration in February, citing what he said was a border security and humanitarian crisis to allow him to reallocate $3.6 billion from other government projects to pay for wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border. The vote allows Trump to continue reviewing federal accounts for money he wants to use for border wall construction.

Both the Democrat-led House and the Republican-majority Senate approved a bill rejecting his move, with many citing objections to a president making spending decisions they said should be done by Congress.

Trump's veto was his first since taking office in 2017.

Meanwhile, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has announced he has authorized the Army to use as much as $1 billion in military funds to start construction of a new barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The money will be used to support the Department of Homeland Security's request to build 91 kilometers (57 miles) of 5-meter pedestrian fencing within the Yuma and El Paso sector of the border "in support of the February 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States." The funds will also be used to build and improve roads and install lights in the area.

VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this report.