Pelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
Dems plan hearing on emergency declaration's impact on military
House Democrats will hold a hearing next week with military officials to examine the potential impact of President Trump's emergency declaration on the Pentagon.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who heads the Appropriations Committee's sub-panel on military construction, has scheduled the hearing for Wednesday, a day after Democrats plan to bring a vote on a resolution to block Trump's unilateral move.
Democrats, joined by a number of Republicans, have expressed concerns that Trump's declaration - which would divert $3.6 billion from military construction projects to build a wall on the southwest border - would undermine military readiness in their districts and beyond.
It's that question that Wasserman Schultz and her panel will examine.
"The President's reckless and authoritarian decision to raid funds Congress has already appropriated for specific military construction projects reflects a profound disrespect for the expertise and wellbeing of our nation's armed forces," Wasserman Schultz said Friday in a statement.
"It is critical that the American public have the opportunity to hear directly from our military officials about the impact of potentially losing $3.6 billion appropriated for military construction funding."
Those scheduled to testify include assistant secretaries from three branches of the armed forces who focus on military construction: Phyllis Bayer of the Navy; Alex Beehler of the Army; and John Henderson of the Air Force.
Democrats are moving ahead on several fronts to block Trump's emergency declaration, which would provide funding for his border wall by tapping funds Congress already approved for other programs.
The president's declaration came last Friday, after Congress passed a sweeping federal spending bill that denied him the $5.7 billion for wall construction he had initially demanded.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Friday that Democrats have scheduled a vote next Tuesday on a disapproval resolution, which is sponsored by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas).
Pelosi framed the resolution as a defense of bedrock principles outlined in the Constitution: the separation of powers and Congress's unique role in dictating where federal dollars are spent.
"To do anything less than overturn this action by the president would be delinquent in our duties as those who take an oath to protect the Constitution," Pelosi said Friday evening at a press conference in the border town of Laredo, Texas.
Castro's resolution is expected to pass easily in the lower chamber, but its fate is less certain in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Trump said Friday in no uncertain terms that he will veto the measure if it reaches his desk.
"Will I veto it? 100 percent. 100 percent," he said. "And I don't think it survives a veto."
As a second front, Democrats are also eyeing a legal challenge to Trump's declaration, though it remains unclear if they will launch their own suit or join one of several already brought by a handful of states and outside groups.
The third arrow in the Democrats' quiver involves a public messaging campaign to bring more voters to their side. Wednesday's hearing on military spending is part of that effort.
"The President has manufactured a crisis and taken unprecedented action in order to access federal dollars to build a totem to xenophobia and ego - and he is doing it at the expense of our military readiness," Wasserman Schultz said.