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: Sanders's momentum puts Democrats on edge House Freedom Caucus chairman endorses Collins's Georgia Senate bid This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime MORE (R-Ky.) to support a resolution overturning President TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE's emergency declaration on the southern border.

In a letter to McConnell, Democratic Reps. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoOne lawmaker gets engaged, another married around Valentine's Day Stage production 'Americano!' tells the life and struggles of a 'Dreamer' Democratic lawmaker says Trump 'doesn't have full command' on Iran MORE (Ariz.), Anthony BrownAnthony Gregory BrownButtigieg, Klobuchar face uphill battle in pivot to diverse states Rep. Andy Kim to endorse Buttigieg Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements MORE (Md.), Salud CarbajalSalud CarbajalLawmakers with first-hand experience using food stamps call on Trump not to cut program House Democrat: 'Trump needs to give more consideration to the safety of our troops' Lawmakers react, predict Trump's next move MORE (Calif.), Gil CisnerosGilbert (Gil) Ray CisnerosMORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocrats to plow ahead with Trump probes post-acquittal Trump Jr. dismisses 'likelihood' of Pelosi praying for Trump with Satan comparison Ted Lieu says he's praying for Trump after National Prayer Breakfast comments MORE (Calif.), Max RoseMax RoseVulnerable Democrats fret over surging Sanders Rose, former FBI agent pen op-ed about the danger of global white nationalism: 'Terrorism is terrorism' MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues MORE (N.Y.) and Bobby RushBobby Lee RushThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime 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 KatkoHillicon Valley: Officials worry about Nevada caucus technology after Iowa | Pelosi joins pressure campaign on Huawei | Workers at Kickstarter vote to unionize | Bezos launches B climate initiative Tech for Nevada caucuses under scrutiny after Iowa debacle Hillicon Valley: Judge approves T-Mobile, Sprint merger | FTC to review past Big Tech deals | State officials ask for more cybersecurity help | House nears draft bill on self-driving cars 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 Campaign Report: What to watch for in Nevada Top GOP super PAC spent money on NC Democrat The Hill's Campaign Report: Warren up, Bloomberg down after brutal debate 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