Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Floor Speech Calling for Bipartisan Support for Veto Override for Resolution to Terminate the President’s Emergency Declaration

March 26, 2019
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives before the vote on the veto override of House Joint Resolution 46, a bipartisan privileged resolution to terminate President Trump’s unlawful emergency declaration.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.  I thank the gentleman for yielding.  I thank him for his enthusiastic defense of the Constitution.

I rise to join my colleagues to uphold the Constitution and defend our democracy once again.

The House and the Senate came together in great unity and bipartisanship to pass Congressman Joaquin Castro’s resolution to reject the President's lawless power grab.  Yet, the President chose to continue to defy the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people with a veto.

At the birth of our democracy – and revolution and the war – Thomas Paine wrote that ‘the times have found us.’ Once again, the times have found us to defend our democracy.

The times have found us to restore the Founders' vision of balance of power, checks and balances, co-equal branches of government and restore Congress's role as Article I, the first branch – Article I, the Legislative branch.

And the times have found us to honor our oath to support and defend the Constitution and protect the American people.

We all know that the heart of our Constitution, the beauty of it all, is that we have a system of checks and balances.  Our Founders did not want a monarchy.  That's what they had rejected.  They wanted a democracy, co-equal branches of government to act as a check on each other.

This Congress of the United States acted to honor the Constitution – our responsibility to protect and defend – by passing legislation in our appropriations bill showing how, in a bipartisan way, Congress would protect our borders.

We understand our responsibility to do that.  We don't take that responsibility lightly.  We take it seriously.

Even when the Legislative – even when the President disagreed with us, he should have accepted the bipartisan, bicameral decision to proceed.  He had taken pride in a shutdown of government for about one month because he didn't get his way on the border.

After one month, bipartisan, bicameral action by the Congress sent him a bill just almost exactly like what he rejected in the first place.  And he decided to reject Congress's wisdom and Congress's acting with its authority to protect our borders in a serious, effective, values-based way.

So, we don't take this vote here today lightly.  Even when the Legislative branch disagrees with the Executive, we respect the office the President holds and it's his right to veto legislation.  But, when those decisions violate the Constitution, then we must be – then that must be stopped.

Many of our colleagues from across the aisle joined last month to defend our democracy by passing Congressman Castro’s privileged resolution.  That happened in the House.  That happened in the United States Senate.

We call on all of our colleagues to simply show that the same measure of respect for our Constitution today.

We take an oath to the Constitution, not to the President of the United States.  We take an oath that we must honor.

The choice is simple: between partisanship and patriotism, between honoring our sacred oath or hypocritically and consistently breaking that oath.

I urge a strong bipartisan yes to override this veto, and yield back the balance of my time.