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Wow: Republicans now crafting legislation to limit POTUS power in future national emergencies

By Jon Dougherty

Few Democrats and Republicans had any issues with the National Emergencies Act, passed in 1976 to give presidents the authority to declare emergencies in times of crisis.

But since the president is now Donald Trump and the crisis is unchecked illegal immigration, suddenly members of his own party, as well as a growing number of Democrats, have lots of problems with the law — and they want to change it.

Seems like the Koch Brothers still wield much power.

The Hill reports that Republican leaders are currently crafting legislation that would curb the president’s powers during future national emergency declarations.

The effort comes as congressional leaders in both parties and in both chambers realize they don’t have enough votes to override POTUS Trump’s Friday veto of their bill seeking to block his declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The president’s ability to access funding not approved by Congress specifically for the purpose of building new walls — a key campaign promise of Trump’s — appears to be what is motivating lawmakers in both parties, but primarily the GOP, to revise the current National Emergencies Act.

“It’s an institutional issue, it’s a congressional authorities issue. We have the power of the purse,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). “Under the National Emergencies Act, there was too much latitude that was given away … and we need to pull that back some and let it be used for legitimate national security purposes.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) added that there is “unanimity” among Republicans about changing the law in the wake of the fight over the president’s emergency declaration to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The Hill noted:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has tapped Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to craft legislation in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that could win the 60 votes needed for a bill to defeat a filibuster and ultimately pass the Senate.

Under the National Emergencies Act, Congress can force a vote on a resolution of disapproval if they want to try to block an emergency declaration. But a president can veto the resolution, setting up a difficult hurdle for Congress to overcome since a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber is needed to override a veto.

Even GOP senators who sided with Trump are interested in the broader issue.

“I would like to revisit the emergency powers that Congress has provided to the executive branch,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who sided with the president. “I do think it’s going to be a healthy debate to have.”

Senate leader McConnell is on board as well.

“If Congress has grown uneasy with this law, as many have, then we should amend it. If the 116th Congress regrets the degree of flexibility that the 94th Congress gave the executive, the 116th Congress can do something about it,” McConnell added separately during a floor speech.

Already, about one-third of the GOP caucus is on board with making changes to the National Emergencies Act in a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would require Congress to approve each new one within 30 days or the declaration would be terminated.

“I don’t know of any president that likes to give up power, but clearly Congress has been asleep at the switch,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who supported the president with his vote but is now supporting Lee’s legislation.

Democrats are also warming up to making changes:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, predicted that Democrats would be “open” to changing the underlying law as long as it was separated from the fight over whether or not Republicans would back the resolution of disapproval.

“It doesn’t solve our current problem,” he added, “but it addresses the dilemma we face.”

If you ever wondered how much power the cheap immigrant labor corporate lobby holds in Washington, D.C., here’s your evidence.

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9 Comments on Wow: Republicans now crafting legislation to limit POTUS power in future national emergencies

  1. There IS a crisis on our nation’s southern border, and I applaud President Trump for declaring a national emergency to keep our country safe and to follow the rule of law. The border wall is a necessity. Trump has our country’s best interests in mind when declaring a national emergency. Shame on those Republican members of Congress who have joined with Democrats to oppose President Trump as he works so hard to make America better. Those RINOs must surely be compromised in some way that makes them beholden to the anti-Trump Deep State. Shame on all of them. Trump 2020!

    • If the previous Congress would’ve funded the Wall we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Beware of RINOs !

  2. If all the GOP members had one of their family members killed by an illegal immigrant, they would not even consider amending the National Emergencies Act. They would in fact add additional funds to build the wall.

  3. These people make me PUKE ! What a bunch of sore losers. Amazing how many Republicans must be taking handouts to vote against a POTUS of their own party. The BORG have infiltrated even deeper than we thought. The amount of cash being slung, enormous !!!!!!!!!!

  4. If they do this to Trump they will have blood on their hands, everyone will know who they are and they will have no career anywhere. I believe they will be pariahs. McConnell is a traitor.

    • McConnell was telegraphing the outcome of the voting days before the vote. You could see it coming. Subversive RINOs.

  5. TinCanPhone24 // March 18, 2019 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    Don’t they have ANY real work to do?
    I can’t name any productive legislation or even discussions from congress that happened in recent memory.
    … and that’s primarily because the media refuses to cover anything that doesn’t have something – directly or indirectly – with Donald.
    A complete dereliction of duty from the 4th Estate.
    Shame on all of them.

  6. Thinker Prime // March 18, 2019 at 11:58 pm // Reply

    Trump was absolutely right that the massive violations of the Border are an emergency and he has the legal right to allocate resources granted through the National Emergencies Act to deal with it. The people who voted to block him claim to be acting on a principled basis because Congress has the power of the purse . . . . but since they never contested any of the prior emergencies, only Trump’s emergency which is a legitimate emergency, their claim of being principled is wrong. Trump will win by vetoing their resistance and will win in court.

    But it is perfectly reasonable for the future to change the National Emergencies Act to restore the ability of the Congress to control the purse. That is fine. It is Constitutional. I agree that should be done. The point in doing it is to alter the playing field BACK to the Constitutional approach in a way that binds ALL leaders of the Executive Branch in the future – not just to bind Trump but let a future Obama have free rein the way they did in the past.

  7. Equality Über Alles // March 19, 2019 at 6:05 pm // Reply

    Why doesn’t Trump get a pen and a phone? When the epitaph of America is written there will be special gold star for poodle head Rand Paul and his love of procedure. (not really)

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