House Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration

House Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration
© Stefani Reynolds

A group of Democratic House military veterans on Tuesday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) to support a resolution overturning President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE's emergency declaration on the southern border.

In a letter to McConnell, Democratic Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOn The Money: Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution | US hits Russia with new sanctions | Dems renew push for contractor back pay | Lawmakers seek probe into undocumented workers at Trump businesses Hispanic Caucus demands probe into Trump Organization hiring undocumented workers Hispanic Dems ask for multi-agency meeting on family separations MORE (Ariz.), Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownHouse Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Gillibrand offers bill to let transgender troops serve | Pentagon ready to protect US personnel in Venezuela | Dems revive fight with Trump over Saudis Gillibrand introduces bipartisan bill to allow transgender military service MORE (Md.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalHouse Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration Dem rep 'surprised' more Republicans didn't vote to block Trump emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - Trump’s long day: From Michael Cohen to Kim Jong Un MORE (Calif.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuHouse Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration Watchdog organization calls for investigation into Kushner clearance Dems call for criminal probe into Kushner's security clearance MORE (Calif.), Max RoseMax RoseThe importance of moderate voters The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority House Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) and Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHouse Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration Dem lawmakers unveil Journalist Protection Act amid Trump attacks on media Dems mock Trump's pitch for Fourth of July celebration MORE (Ill.) sharply criticized Trump over reports that the administration plans to use up to $1 billion from Department of Defense military pay and pension accounts to build a border wall.

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"We may have political differences, but we hope you will join us to pass H.J.Res. 46 to terminate the President's national emergency in order to defend the U.S. Constitution and uphold our solemn duty to support our brave men and women in uniform," the lawmakers wrote.

The resolution to overturn Trump's emergency declaration on the border passed the House last month, picking up 13 GOP votes to go along with unanimous Democratic support. 

Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoThe importance of moderate voters Overnight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' MORE (R-N.Y.) missed the vote because of the death of his father but said he also supported the resolution.

Four Republican senators have already said they will vote for the resolution later this week, on the grounds that the president's declaration sets a precedent that weakens the legislative branch in favor of the executive.

But the White House, eager to get Republicans to stick with the president, on Tuesday dispatched Vice President Pence to the Senate. 

Pence was apparently successful in swaying Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (N.C.) — who had earlier said he'd vote for the resolution — to reconsider his position.

The emergency declaration would allow the president to move funds from other agencies to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to build a border wall, a prospect that's made Republican senators wonder whether the emergency powers passed in the 70s are "too broad," according to McConnell.

But McConnell has said current legislation allows for emergency declarations like Trump's.

The letter's authors took a different view, asking McConnell to "urge the Senate to reject the President's clearly unlawful actions and protect the integrity of our institution."

They also urged McConnell to "safeguard our constitutional obligations and support the health, welfare, and earned benefits of American heroes who put their lives on the line to defend our country."

Gallego and Carbajal are Marine veterans; Rush, Brown and Rose are Army veterans; Cisneros is a Navy veteran; and Lieu served in the Air Force.

Brown and Lieu are reserve colonels in their respective services, and Rose serves in the National Guard.

—Updated at 3:06 p.m.

Letter to McConnell on Scribd