GOP Sens. Introduce Bill to Curb Trump’s Nat’l Emergency Powers

‘If Congress is troubled by recent emergency declarations made pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, they only have themselves to blame…’

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(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Several Republican senators are rallying behind a new bill that would curb President Donald Trump’s authority, specifically his ability to declare a national emergency.

The bill, dubbed the Article One Act, was introduced by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and aims to “take back significant legislative powers” given to the executive branch and prevent Trump from “acting like a king.”

“If Congress is troubled by recent emergency declarations made pursuant to the National Emergencies Act, they only have themselves to blame,” Lee said in a statement. “Congress gave these legislative powers away in 1976, and it is far past time that we as an institution took them back.

More than a dozen Senate Republicans are supporting the legislation, including Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.


Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border last month in order to re-allocate funds from the Defense Department toward the construction of a border wall.

The Democratic-controlled House passed a resolution of disapproval to block the declaration, but the Senate has not yet passed it.

Trump would likely veto the measure, which means Congress would need a highly implausible two-thirds majority in both chambers to override it.

Of the four Senate Republicans who have declared their intention to support the Democrats’ effort, at least two—Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.—are doing so expressly to keep executive powers in check while not denying the severity of the current illegal immigration crisis.

Former President Barack Obama was often criticized by the Right for his “pen and phone” leadership approach of circumventing Congress with executive fiat.

Among his unilateral orders was the refusal to enforce deportation laws, resulting in policies like the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals that encouraged new waves of amnesty-seekers to send unaccompanied minors across the border and exacerbated the current border crisis.

Several of Obama’s executive actions, such as the DACA policy and his revising of Affordable Care Act deadlines after Congress had passed the law, were deemed by courts to be unconstitutional.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Republicans want to amend the national emergencies law so presidents cannot take similar actions in the future.

“There’s a lot of discomfort with the law. … Was it too broad back in the ’70s when it was passed,” McConnell said. “So yeah, we’re discussing altering that.”