With the Senate set to vote on whether to oppose his border emergency declaration, President Donald Trump has called on Republicans to close ranks on what he says is an "80 percent positive issue".
Twelve Senate Republicans joined a unified Democratic caucus to pass the disapproval measure in the Republican-led chamber, defying the White House and ignoring a presidential veto threat.
Trump urged GOP lawmakers against joining Democrats in backing the measure, tweeting Thursday that "a vote for today's resolution by Republican senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, crime and the open border Democrats!"
Approval votes in both the Senate and House fell short of the two-thirds majorities needed to override.
Trump quickly responded to the vote on Twitter, writing one word: "VETO!"
The President declared an emergency when it became clear that Congress would not meet his demand for more than $5 billion in border wall funding.
The setback for the President also comes on the heels of another high-profile break with his administration after the Senate voted just one day earlier to curtail USA military support for a Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has created a humanitarian crisis in that country.
Thursday's vote was the first direct challenge to the 1976 National Emergencies Act, just as Wednesday's on Yemen was the first time Congress invoked the decades-old War Powers Act to try to rein in a president.
Even before Thursday's vote, there were warnings that GOP senators resisting Trump could face political consequences. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on internal deliberations.
Numerous Senate Republicans, including some who sided with Trump Thursday, have called for a narrowing of parameters of the National Emergencies Act of 1976, under whose authority Trump and other presidents have acted in declaring their emergencies.
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"I'm sure he will not be happy with my vote", said moderate Sen. "But I'm a United States senator and I feel my job is to stand up for the Constitution, so let the chips fall where they may". One, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, was particularly odd: his eleventh-hour cave came just weeks after he wrote an op-ed proclaiming his opposition to the national emergency in the grandest terms. Throughout his presidency, he has enjoyed nearly universal support from his party save for a few GOP lawmakers who bucked him in big moments like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and some foreign policy issues.
In addition to Lee and Portman, the Republicans voting for the resolution were: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Patrick Toomey of Pennesylvania, Roger Wicker of MS and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
"The president's action comes into direct conflict with Congress' authority to determine the appropriation of funds, a power vested in Congress by the framers of our Constitution", Collins said.
One man from Guatemala says the prices charged by people smugglers have risen sharply since Trump took office, now hovering around $10,000 (9,100 euros), up from about $6,000 a few years ago. Mike Lee, R-Utah, chief sponsor of the bill limiting future emergency declarations, and told him he opposed that proposal. "We can't succumb to that", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Congress declined and the result was the longest shutdown in USA history. There was a last-ditch effort to get Trump to agree to back legislation by Sen.
After the president's veto, the strongest chance of blocking Trump's emergency order is likely to be through legal action taken by Democratic state attorneys general, environmental groups and others. Those cases could effectively block Trump from diverting extra money to barrier construction for months or longer. "Don't vote with Pelosi!".
Other Republicans voting against Trump's border emergency were Roy Blunt of Missouri, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
The president said he needed to declare an emergency to more quickly crack down on the drugs, human trafficking and violence coming into the country at the southern border. Congress can vote to block a declaration, but the two-thirds majorities required to overcome presidential vetoes make it hard for lawmakers to prevail.