Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, addresses the executive council winter session of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C., on February 12, 2019. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Rep. Tom Cole complained about a one-page bill and #NativeTwitter roasted him for it

By Acee Agoyo

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is one of the most experienced legislators (and politicians) but his complaints about a one-page bill aren't earning him many fans on social media.

Cole serves as ranking member of the House Committee on Rules, and as the senior Republican on that panel, he's probably not going to go along with every Democratic initiative. That's clearly the case with H.J.Res.46, a resolution that rebukes President Donald Trump for declaring a national emergency along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“I do not understand the haste with which the majority is pushing this disapproval resolution through," Cole said as the committee took up the measure on Monday evening. "We’ve had no time to review the bill and no committee has held a hearing or marked it up.”

Democrats, who took control of the U.S. House of Representatives after winning a majority of the seats in the last election, are indeed moving quickly on H.J.Res.46. The measure was introduced on Friday and it's due to clear the chamber later on Tuesday, according to the Majority Leader's calendar.

But #NativeTwitter wasn't happy with Cole's comments. "Pathetic," is what one one user wrote after the remarks made the rounds on Monday evening.

"It's 70 words," added another, referring to the length of the bill. "He's getting paid to read it & it's not that long. He needs to do his job or resign."

H.J.Res.46 is indeed about 70 words, give or take one, but the most important part is only two words. The measure declares that Trump's emergency declaration of February 15, 2019, is "hereby terminated."

"If Congress lets Trump’s emergency declaration stand, this President and future presidents will come back for more," Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), the sponsor of the bill, wrote in a post on Twitter on Monday.

"And if the border wall is a national 'emergency' under this law, how am I supposed to tell a future President that opioid and gun deaths are not?" added Castro, who is among a crowded field of Democrats seeking his party's nomination for president in 2020. "Or climate change?"

Indianz.Com on YouTube: Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) #TrumpEmergency

Cole, a former chair of the Republican National Committee and a former Oklahoma state lawmaker, himself has expressed similar concerns about presidential power in a number of interviews with the media. But if he is concerned about #NativeTwitter's reaction, it's not showing.

"I think he is acting well within his authority," Cole said on NPR's Morning Edition on Tuesday as he defended Trump's declaration.

Cole isn't alone in that view. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, supports Trump's border policies and has refused to shave his beard until Congress votes to fund the disputed wall

"President Trump did what needed to be done in declaring an emergency at our border," Mullin said after the February 15 declaration. "He has my complete and total support."

The other two tribal citizens who serve in Congress -- both of whom are Democrats -- disagree. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas), who are the first Native women elected to the U.S. House oppose Trump's wall and his emergency declaration.

"During my trip to the border ... I saw children separated from their parents whose lives will be forever changed by this trauma," said Haaland, who is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna citizen and is a co-sponsor of H.J.Res.46. "Never did the border feel unsafe, and it is by no means a national emergency."

Davids, who is a citizen of the Ho-Chunk Nation, has not signed onto the disapproval resolution. But in discussing Trump's willingness to "circumvent" the U.S. Constitution with his emergency declaration, she said: "It is dangerous to national security and it’s dangerous to our democracy."

With the House set to rebuke Trump, attention is turning to the U.S. Senate, which remains in Republican hands. All Democrats and at least two Republicans -- including Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a long-serving member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs -- have indicated they will support the disapproval resolution if it comes up for a vote in their chamber.

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