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 Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.) to support a resolution overturning President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's emergency declaration on the southern border.

In a letter to McConnell, Democratic Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoLawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Arizona Democrat: 'To people like Trump I will never be American enough' MORE (Ariz.), Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales MORE (Md.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalHispanic Democrats: ICE raids designed to distract from Trump ties to Epstein Democrats wary of Trump's 'erratic' approach to Iran The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems raise stakes with talk of 'constitutional crisis' MORE (Calif.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuHouse Democrat says he still gets told to 'go back' to China Ted Lieu: Trump a 'racist ass' House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta MORE (Calif.), Max RoseMax RoseHouse Dems, Senate GOP build money edge to protect majorities Ocasio-Cortez sued over Twitter blocks The Hill's Morning Report — Harris brings her A game to Miami debate MORE (N.Y.) and Bobby RushBobby Lee RushCongress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid CBC lawmakers rip Justice Democrats for targeting black lawmakers for primaries The Hill's Morning Report - Harris, Warren rise and Biden tumbles after debates 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 KatkoStudent loan borrowers are defaulting yearly — how can we fix it? Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker House approves amendment to reverse transgender military ban 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 TillisRepublicans scramble to contain Trump fallout McConnell says Trump is not a racist, but calls for better rhetoric GOP senator: 'Outrageous' to say Trump's tweets about Democratic congresswomen are racist 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