Vox Sentences: “VETO!” —@realDonaldTrump

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The Senate delivers a rebuke to the president; rescue operations stop following a building collapse in Nigeria.


Trump headed for his first presidential veto

President Donald Trump Meets With Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of Ireland At The White HouseOlivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
  • The Senate passed a resolution on Thursday to reject President Trump’s emergency declaration at the southern border, setting up what will be the first veto from the White House. Trump has framed the move as a desertion by GOP members to support Democrats (12 Republicans crossed party lines to reject the emergency declaration). [NYT / Emily Cochrane and Glenn Thrush]
  • Briefly, Trump’s plan was to redirect $6.7 billion in allocated funds to build a wall on the US-Mexico border as a foolproof immigration solution. It’s unprecedented that a president would use executive powers to interfere with Congress’s spending powers, inherently threatening the system of checks and balances. [WSJ / Natalie Andrews and Kristina Peterson]
  • “VETO!” Trump tweeted after the vote. It’s a blow to the White House — and it won’t be Trump’s only veto. The president has also promised to reject legislation both the Senate and the House passed to pull the US out of the Saudi-led war in Yemen. [Politico / Marianne LeVine]
  • Trump declared the emergency on February 15, angering Congress for challenging its “power of the purse.” It’s also likely Trump will face lawsuits for his use of emergency powers, but he insists he’ll win any case brought against him. [NPR / Susan Davis]
  • Congress is also insisting there’s no national security crisis at the southern border, despite Trump’s rhetoric regarding terrorism, drugs, and sexual assault in his attempts to claim an immigration disaster worthy of executive action. Reports from government agencies actually refute many of Trump’s claims and show these so-called dangers are false or out of proportion. [Politico Magazine / Gen. Michael Hayden and Matthew G. Olsen]
  • But is the vote moot? Neither the House nor the Senate has enough votes to achieve the two-thirds majority to override the veto. At the last minute before the vote, Trump expressed that he was open to evaluating his emergency powers — which may draw some Republican senators back to his base to discuss executive checks on Congress. The vote is still a blow to the White House, though. The wall is one of Trump’s main campaign promises he has yet to deliver. [The Hill / Jordain Carney]

Death toll in Nigeria building collapse still unknown

  • Rescue efforts at the site of a collapsed building in Lagos, Nigeria, were called off on Thursday morning. Operations saved 37 people since Wednesday morning, when the structure fell. Dozens more people, including children (the building housed a nursery and primary school), are thought to still be trapped in the site of the accident. The total death toll is not yet known. [CNN / Bukola Adebayo and Stephanie Busari]
  • A frantic, dusty scene followed the collapse of the building — and hundreds of people may have been inside. The Lagos state governor reportedly said the buildings in the area were “undergoing integrity testing.” One study found that 54 buildings have fallen in Nigeria since 2015. [NPR / Vanessa Romo and Ofeibea Quist-Arcton]
  • More than 70 people were in the building at 10 am when the building fell. Infrastructure in Lagos is struggling to keep up with demands of the city’s population of 23.4 million. Building construction often occurs without regulation in the city. The school was reportedly operating illegally because the building was on a demolition list. [NYT / Tony Iyare and Dionne Searcey]
  • At least eight people have been declared dead. Workers reached the building’s foundation on Thursday and said they didn’t expect to find any more people in the rubble. Thousands of witnesses gathered around the scene of the building in the occupied neighborhood on Lagos Island to watch and help rescuers. [Washington Post / Siobhán O’Grady]
  • But the extent of the casualties still isn’t known. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” and urged the Lagos government to prevent further accidents. Buhari was just reelected in a highly contested federal election, in which the economy and poverty were key voter issues. [Africa News]

Miscellaneous

  • The social media world was forced into digital silence on Wednesday when Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp (all owned by Facebook) went down at the same time. The longest-ever outage has been resolved after server configuration issues were addressed. [WSJ / Georgia Wells]
  • The Connecticut Supreme Court decided on Thursday that families of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will be permitted to sue the gunmaker Remington Arms for selling the weapon used in the 2012 attack. [NPR / Ryan Lindsay]
  • All Boeing 737 Max airplanes are currently grounded in the US, but the economic fallout of not flying the planes is hard to tell. The effects will hurt Boeing, airlines that use the planes, and customers via canceled flights. [Atlantic / Joe Pinsker]
  • The UK Parliament voted on Thursday to ask the EU for an extension of the Brexit deadline, currently set for March 29. Now the House of Commons will vote on whether to approve Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal on March 20. Whether or not it passes, May will request an extension from Brussels — but it may be harder to get if parliament rejects the deal. [Politico Europe / Charlie Cooper]
  • Iran has been given a seat on the UN Women’s Rights Committee, despite the country’s disputed human rights record — just Monday, the husband of an esteemed female Iranian human rights lawyer said that she had been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. [NYT / Iliana Magra]

Verbatim

“I want to be in it. Man, I’m just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment.” [2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke in an interview with Vanity Fair]


Watch this: Why you’re recycling wrong

Knowing what you can and can’t recycle isn’t easy. But when you put stuff that can’t be recycled into that blue bin, it can turn entire hauls of otherwise recyclable materials into trash. [YouTube / Ellen Rolfes and Kim Mas]


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