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 McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE (R-Ky.) to support a resolution overturning President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's emergency declaration on the southern border.

In a letter to McConnell, Democratic Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoTrump officials say US efforts to deter Iran have worked Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress MORE (Ariz.), Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownDivided Dems look to regroup Overnight Defense: Transgender troops rally as ban nears | Trump may call more troops to border | National Guard expects 3M training shortfall from border deployment | Pentagon to find housing for 5,000 migrant children Transgender troops rally as Pentagon prepares to implement ban MORE (Md.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems raise stakes with talk of 'constitutional crisis' House Dem vets press McConnell on emergency declaration Dem rep 'surprised' more Republicans didn't vote to block Trump emergency declaration MORE (Calif.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuPelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Hillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senators introduce bill to end warrantless searches of electronic devices at border MORE (Calif.), Max RoseMax RoseRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language Hillicon Valley: Trump signs cybersecurity executive order | Facebook bans 'dangerous' figures | Dems slam tech's response to extremist content | Trump meets Foxconn CEO over Wisconsin factory plans Dems slam 'vague explanations' by tech firms on extremist content MORE (N.Y.) and Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHouse Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut A crucial lesson from the carnage in Sri Lanka Congress should look into its own taxes and travel, not just Trump's 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 KatkoAfter National Police Week, clearer heads must prevail in legislation slashing Amtrak security Here are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act 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 TillisThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Collins offering bill to boost battery research as GOP pushes energy 'innovation' Lawmakers call for investigation after census hired registered sex offender 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