Congressional Dems Try to Block 'Grand-Scale' Military Parades as a 'Show of Force'
WASHINGTON -- House and Senate Democrats are trying to use the powers of Congress to block the military parade that President Trump wants to see rumble through the streets of D.C.
After attending the last Bastille Day parade in Paris back in July, Trump said that "to a large extent, because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington, down Pennsylvania Avenue."
In November, Trump likewise praised a military parade he witnessed in China.
"The hosting of the military parade this morning was magnificent, and the world was watching. I've already had people calling from all parts of the world. They were all watching. Nothing you can see is so beautiful," he said of the communist nation's show of strength.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Trump "is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe" and "has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation."
Defense officials have indicated that planning is underway, including possible dates that could include Veterans Day in November.
"The president is looking at a parade, OK? I owe him some options. No, I have not got those options done," Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters today. "I will turn it over to the military guys who know how to do parades and we'll put together options and we will work out everything from size to participation to cost. And when I get clear options, we will send those over to the White House."
Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) announced today that he's introducing the Preparedness Before Parades Act, which states as the sense of Congress that "military parades should not be used for the personal pleasure of the president" and forbids the parade going forward unless the Defense secretary can certify to Congress that "the parade will have no effect on the military readiness or budgetary needs of the Armed Forces."
Schneider's bill also requires the municipality where the parade is held to approve the event at least 90 days beforehand -- D.C.'s City Council has already tweeted "tanks but no tanks" -- and will require that at least half of the parade costs come out of Executive Office of the President's budget.
“After more than a decade and a half of combat and years of unnecessary budget dysfunction, we are stretching our military to the breaking point,” the congressman said in a statement. “I have severe concerns about the cost, diversion of resources, and effect on readiness of a large-scale parade seemingly conceived only to please the whims of the president. The best way to honor our men and women in uniform is by supplying the training, equipment, and support they need to succeed on the battlefield and get them back home safely. This bill ensures our military leaders are consulted and that any parades do not distract from their critical missions.”