091719-news-Red Arrows 02

A member of the Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic team inspects the BAE Systems’ Hawk T1 jet on Sept. 16, 2019, at Peterson Air Force Base in east Colorado Springs.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to sustain President Donald Trump's veto of Democratic-sponsored legislation reversing his raid of military-base project money in Colorado and elsewhere to pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The 53-36 vote -- 53 for overturning the veto and 36 for sustaining it -- was well short of the two-thirds required to overturn the veto.

In Colorado, Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet voted in opposition to Trump's veto and Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner voted to sustain it.

“The minority is once again refusing to provide funding for border security," Gardner said in a statement. "Even though Senate Democrats have finally admitted the humanitarian crisis at our border is real, they still refuse to do anything about it.”

The vote mirrored ones last month and in March in which a number of Republicans broke with Trump in defending lawmakers' power of the purse. The military projects in question included base schools and target ranges.

In February, Trump declared the security situation along the border a national emergency. That decision enabled him to take up to $3.6 billion from such projects to finance wall construction beyond the miles that lawmakers have been willing to fund.

Democrats reacted with outrage and some GOP senators opposed Trump as well. Top Republicans such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had urged Trump not to do it. But once Trump acted, McConnell and others fell into line even as 10 Republicans broke with Trump on Thursday's vote, including Mitt Romney and Mike Lee of Utah and Mario Rubio of Florida.

"The president's emergency declaration is an unconstitutional power grab. Congress has not fully funded his requests for border wall funding," said Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. "But this president will not accept Congress's judgment. Or our constitutional authority. His emergency declaration is an exercise of power that is just not his under the Constitution."

Trump has obtained just over $3 billion for border barrier construction by working through regular congressional channels, subject to limitations imposed by lawmakers. He has used various transfer and emergency authorities to shift almost $7 billion more from the emergency declaration, a forfeiture fund containing money seized by law enforcement, and funding for military counterdrug activities.

Last week, a federal judge in Texas ruled that Trump had exceeded his authority in reallocating the money for military construction to the border wall. The Supreme Court in July issued a stay on a ruling by a California court that blocked Trump from carrying out the maneuver.

The Pentagon recently identified $3.6 billion worth of military construction projects it's willing to kill in order to build 175 miles of border wall. The projects included a $8 million space control facility project at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, issued a statement blasting Gardner's vote.

“Senator Cory Gardner had a very clear choice with today’s vote: ... support for Trump’s unconstitutional power grab, or prevent Peterson Air Force Base from losing $8 million in funding," she said. "Gardner chose Trump over doing what’s right for Colorado -- even after he broke a promise to protect funding for our state’s military projects. Standing up for Colorado’s service members should be an easy choice for our U.S. senator, but Gardner has pledged his allegiance to Trump and abandoned the constituents he’s supposed to represent.”

The Associated Press and Mark Harden of Colorado Politics reported.

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