Nearly two dozen former GOP lawmakers from the Senate and House wrote a letter on Monday calling on Republicans to put the country above politics and vote against Donald Trump’s emergency declaration. In a letter published by Politico, 19 former House members and five former Senate members urged “those of you who are now charged with upholding the authority of the first branch of government to resist efforts to surrender those powers to a president.”
The former lawmakers, including Chuck Hagel, Pete McCloskey, Olympia Snowe, John Danforth, and Christopher Shays, opened the letter by saying that lawmakers must honor their oath to the constitution regardless of the current political landscape or pledge to the president.
The letter then laid out two arguments for opposing the president’s emergency declaration. The first is that the president should answer to the people through Congress. If Trump is allowed to pass his declaration, they argue, lawmakers are effectively allowing the president to circumvent the will of the people.
The second argument asks current lawmakers if they are willing to subvert the current legal process in order to give the president what he couldn’t achieve through other measures.
“The current issue — a wall on our southern border — has gone through the process put in place by the Constitution. It has been proposed by the President, it has been debated by Congress, and the representatives of the people allocated funding at a level deemed appropriate by Congress,” the letter explains.
If Congress allows Trump to impose policies that they opposed, the letter asks, what is to stop future leaders from doing the same?
“We who have served where you serve now call on you to honor your oath of office and to protect the Constitution and the responsibilities it vested in Congress,” the letter concludes.
Trump declared a national emergency on February 15 after months of trying to get Congress to pass more than $5 billion in funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. When negotiations that included closing the government down for the longest period in U.S. history failed, the president declared a national emergency in order to obtain the funding he wanted.
His declaration was immediately met with backlash from people on both sides of the aisle as an unconstitutional power grab. Trump’s argument was further weakened when he said that he didn’t have to declare an emergency, but did so to speed things along.
The declaration has already been challenged by five separate lawsuits, including one that involves 16 states, as The Inquisitr previously reported.
The House will hold a vote this week on whether or not the block Trump’s declaration.