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Help End the Abuse of Emergency Powers

Throughout his presidency, Trump has continually threatened to expand his power, declaring national emergencies and ignoring constitutional limitations.

Last week alone, Trump made a stunning Twitter declaration that American companies are “hereby ordered” to find alternatives to China, and reportedly promised preemptive pardons for anyone willing to break the law in order to build his wall at the southern border.

Now, the Department of Defense has begun diverting funds away from their congressionally approved construction programs, sacrificing military needs for Trump’s pet political project.

How does Trump justify his abuses of power? By citing The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) of 1977, which authorizes a president to regulate international commerce in the event of a national emergency. Laws like IEEPA, enacted since the 1970s, effectively give the executive branch powers that constitutionally belong to the legislature, in order to respond to immediate emergencies.

But Trump is stretching these powers beyond what the laws and the constitution ever envisioned, declaring anything an emergency in order to seize more power. He is circumventing the legislative branch by reallocating funds without congressional approval, and despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly refused to give him the full funding he demanded.

It’s hardly the first time he’s invented emergencies that only he could solve with authoritarian zeal. But there’s a larger issue: this president thinks he is all-powerful, and Congress continues to surrender its power to the executive, sacrificing its ability to check this or future presidents that may abuse their power.

If Congress doesn’t protect its constitutional authorities and the balance of power, America may realize the founders’ greatest fear: an unaccountable and unstoppable executive.

That’s why Stand Up Republic is working with members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to reform national emergency powers and reclaim Congress’ constitutional authority. For the sake of our country, we must rebalance the powers of government, reinforcing the separation of powers and checks and balances, as our founders intended.

We cannot let partisan interests or petty in-fighting stand in the way of strengthening the guardrails of our republic. These reforms are essential in protecting the balance of powers which give citizens control over our government. If Congress doesn’t take action now, this president and any successor – of either party – would feel empowered to override Congress and the people to pursue their own personal agendas.

No one person should ever have that power in America. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that our power as citizens is preserved, by strengthening that of our representatives in Congress, who remain most accountable to us.

Our Fight for Freedom Echoes Around the World

Almost 250 years ago, America’s founders laid out a grand vision for human freedom and self-rule. It wasn’t perfect, and we continue to strengthen and improve it today. But it did ignite a fire that has shone across the world, inspiring billions to push back against oppression and fight for liberty. Nowhere has that inspirational effect been more apparent than in Hong Kong over the last several weeks.

Protestors have flooded the streets, parks, even the airport, demanding freedom for the people of Hong Kong and opposing repressive policies Beijing is trying to impose upon them. They chant pro-democracy slogans as they peacefully protest, and they even wave American flags and play the Star Spangled Banner. That’s the power a free America can have in the world.

The simple truth is, when you see the power of independence and freedom, you can’t help but want it for yourself. In just the last few weeks, protestors in Moscow, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kashmir and elsewhere have put their personal safety on the line to march against dictators and oppressive actions. It’s the exact same kind of courage that has defined America’s history, from our foundation to the civil rights movement to today. Through successes and failures, it’s been our commitment to democracy and liberty that has driven us to be the best, freest nation on Earth.

And when we commit to that fight at home, we help others around the world to realize their own inherent dignity and liberty. They see that it is possible to be free and be secure, and they start to demand it for themselves. That is how the light of liberty spreads, by being nurtured first in the US and other free societies.

Our fight for America’s democratic republic is essential to our national welfare. But it’s also much bigger than us. When we stand up here, we show others a world away that the fight is worth having, and it can be won. America could have no greater legacy than the inspiration of liberty the world over. In turn, we should look to protestors in Hong Kong, Moscow and elsewhere as a source of inspiration for us, and redouble our commitment to freedom in their honor. That is our calling as the inheritors of the blessings of freedom won by generations that have come before us.

We Can’t Let Them Rewrite American Values

This week, the Trump administration placed further restrictions on legal immigration into the United States, enacting a new rule that would determine green card recipients based on a wealth test. Those who do not pass this aggressive assessment will be denied permanent legal status.

This week, a senior immigration official in the Trump administration suggested that the words on the Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land” – should be revised, making clear that the administration wants to fundamentally rewrite our values.

But the engraving on the Statue of Liberty does not specify from where a person should come, or how much money they should have, just that they will be welcomed in the new world.

Immigrants who choose to come to the United States do so because we are the land of opportunity. Revolutionaries in oppressive regimes sing our national anthem because of what it represents: a free nation where all are created equal.

Though Trump and his nativist cronies are trying to redefine our ideals through their xenophobic statements and bigotted policies, Americans do not separate themselves from each other, we unite. We stand against the hatred, we demand change. Our fundamental principles will not be erased or redefined by the racist whims of this administration.

Words matter. They have immense power to bring a person to the extremes. But they also can bring people together. Together we are more powerful than the voices of fear and hate. That is why they seek to divide us, and that is why we must work harder to come together. Our commitment to liberty, equality, and truth is what powers us to thrive. It’s why the downtrodden across the world have looked to our example for inspiration. It is the purpose that drives us ever onward, towards a more perfect union.

We are a proud multicultural, inclusive nation and those principles are what define us. As long as we continue to stand up for our values and against hatred, America will continue to be seen as the strongest democracy in the world, and a place that we all feel proud to call home.

White Supremacism is a Terrorist Ideology and We Must Confront it Directly.

The shooting in El Paso this weekend is a horrific reminder of the growing threat which white supremacy and other related ideologies pose to America. For many Americans, these hate-filled beliefs seemed almost unheard of – a relic of bygone bigotry which America had largely moved past. But we cannot ignore the truth that white supremacy is alive, and driving some Americans to radical, violent ends.

If we don’t identify white supremacy as a source of domestic terrorism, it will fester, spread, and tear at the fabric of our society.

There are people in America who believe that a war between races is either ongoing, or is necessary to protect their own race. They believe they are superior to any other race, and that they must secure a nation for themselves, killing or expelling any other race or ethnicity from their land.

It is more than unbridled hate, it’s an ideology which cannot coexist with a free, pluralistic society. In short, they cannot accept or tolerate the dream of an America built and strengthened by people of every race, creed, gender or background.

This doctrine is of course nothing new. It has existed in America throughout our history, at times even as a predominant belief. But as our society has grown to recognize the evil of racism and bigotry, we weakened white supremacy as a force in our nation. And those who clung to it were driven to the shadows and fringes.

Today, white supremacy is experiencing a resurgence. They’ve built communities online to recruit new supremacists and to share their hate. But their hate doesn’t stay online. As white supremacists become radicalized they take their vitriol and rage to our homes and our communities. They murder to inspire fear and spread their message. That is what makes it terrorism.

And that is why we need to recognize it as such. If we have any hope to defeat this ideology, and prevent future attacks, we must acknowledge that this is not random violence nor mental illness. This is strategic, and we need a strategic response.

But rather than approach white supremacy – and it’s more socially accepted facade, white nationalism – as an organized threat, some politicians recite their rhetoric, stoke their fears and fuel their anger.

A leader who wants to end the threat of white supremacy wouldn’t blame video games, the internet, the media, or immigration. A leader who is serious about combating racist terrorism wouldn’t laugh when a supporter suggests shooting immigrants. A leader committed to the safety and unity of all Americans would confront the problem by name – white supremacy – and condemn all who embrace it, rather than sharing the words of the more mainstream proponents of hate.

That’s what America needs from its leaders now. That’s how we will confront and defeat radical, violent ideologies.

There is, and will continue to be, much debate about guns, mental health, and mass violence in general, but we cannot ignore the tide of white supremacism which underpins many of these violent attacks. If we don’t call it by name, identify it directly, and confront it bravely, we will not defeat this evil. And if we cannot uphold our commitment to liberty and justice for all if we will not relegate white supremacy to the ash heap of history.

Which Republicans have stood up to white nationalism

White supremacy is on the rise in America–from an alarming online presence on sites like 8chan and Gab to gatherings at Charlottesville and other neo-Nazi rallies to outright violence. The FBI currently lists hate crimes as “the highest priority” of its U.S. Civil Rights arm. In only 8 years, 175 people have been killed in explicit, high-profile white supremacist attacks. On Saturday, white supremacy claimed the lives of 22 individuals at an El Paso Walmart, one of the safest towns in the country.   The GOP has turned a blind eye to the white supremacist undercurrents in its base for too long. Too many of our representatives are writing off the El Paso shooting as yet another untraceable act of senseless violence by a disaffected American, blaming anything from mental illness to video games. However, a few have named and condemned the El Paso shooting for what it truly was.   SUR has compiled a list of these responsible Republican leaders, state and federal level alike, below. The statements are ordered chronologically by the statement’s proximity to the shooting. Check back for regular updates:  

White supremacy is on the rise in America–from an alarming online presence on sites like 8chan and Gab to gathering sat Charlottesville and other neo-Nazi rallies to outright violence. The FBI currently lists hate crimes as “the highest priority” of its U.S. Civil Rights arm. In only 8 years, 175 people have been killed in explicit, high-profile white supremacist attacks. On Saturday, white supremacy claimed the  lives of 22 individuals at an El Paso Walmart, one of the safest towns in the country.

George P. Bush, 8/3/19 9:55 PM  Texas Land Commissioner  

Asa Hutchinson, 8/4/19 9:32 AM Arkansas Governor     Ted Cruz, 8/4/19 1:53 PM United States Senator, Texas     Dan Crenshaw, 8/4/19 2:03 PM United States Congressman, Texas-02   Will Hurd, 8/4/19 10:30 AM United States Congressman, Texas-23   Cory Gardner 8/4/19 4:14 PM United States Senator, Colorado     John McCollister, 8/4/19 8:49 PM State Senator, Nebraska   Mitt Romney, 8/4/19 8:52 PM United States Senator, Utah       Jim Banks, 8/4/19 11:09 AM  United States Congressman, Indiana-03     Rob Portman, 8/4/19 5:30 PM United States Senator, Ohio     Tim Scott, 8/5/19 2:29 PM South Carolina Senator     John Curtis, 8/5/19 3:18 United States Congressman, Utah-03     Darin LaHood, 8/5/19 7:32 pm United States Congressman, Illinois-18  

Take Action: Tell Mitch McConnell to Protect our Elections

The Mueller Report, Mueller’s testimony before Congress, the intelligence community, and the Senate’s own report have come to the same conclusion: Our elections are vulnerable and the Russian government, along with other adversaries, is working to interfere in our democracy again in 2020.

Former Special Counsel Mueller was asked, point blank, if the Kremlin’s interference was a one time occurrence, his response? “It wasn’t a single attempt, they’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.”

And yet, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to block election security bills from reaching the Senate Floor, we can’t let that stand.

Call McConnell’s office: (202) 224-2541, and demand that he allow a vote on election security bills:

Hi, this is [your name], I’m calling because I am concerned about election interference. I know there are multiple bills in the Senate right now that seek to address election security and I am urging Senator McConnell to allow these bills to go to the Senate Floor.

Russia and other foreign adversaries continue to attack our elections and Leader McConnell is enabling these attacks on our democracy.

Americans deserve elections free from foreign interference and Leader McConnell has a responsibility to restore public confidence in our election results.

I would like to request a formal response from Senator McConnell’s office on this topic and can give you my information whenever you’re ready.

Senate Takes First Step to Take Back their Power

With the second round of Democratic primary debates in full swing, we are hearing candidates make sweeping promises about how they will use executive power. Over the past two years, we have seen President Trump abuse his executive power and now it’s critical that Congress act to ensure it maintains its Article One authority. Last week the Senate took a major step in reclaiming this independence and power.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to bring the Article One Act out to the Senate Floor. This bill limits any national emergency declared by a president to 30 days, unless Congress votes to extend it.

Since President Trump declared a national emergency in order to fund his pet project against the will of Congress, a wall on our southern border, the issue of Congress ceding it’s Article One powers, that detail its power of the purse, over to the Executive has been in the forefront of the national debate about the constitutional powers of Congress versus those of the President.

This bill is a first critical step on the road to Congress taking back it’s constitutional authority. Right now, there are 31 national emergencies in effect and are going unchecked and un-debated by Congress, with one going all the way back to 1979 having been instituted by President Jimmy Carter. The Article One Act’s 30-day requirement is a common-sense solution that would allow Congress to check the president’s declaration of a national emergency and choose to end it or allow it to continue.

Trump’s national emergency declaration has faced significant pushback from members of his own party. However, they have only themselves to blame. Congress has continually given their powers over to the executive for years and now they must take it back and start evaluating these, some decades old, national emergency declarations.

With strong bipartisan support, the Article One Act now moves to the Senate Floor. We are urging Senators from both parties to support this legislation and begin to take back their constitutional authority.

Defend our Elections

Our democracy, and democracies around the world, are facing unprecedented challenges. Outdated elections systems. The rise of anti-freedom movements. Corrupt politicians. And foreign interference in the form of hacking and sweeping disinformation campaigns.   Last week, just hours after Robert Mueller testified that Moscow and other foreign powers are still meddling in our elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked critical legislation to secure our elections. McConnell’s move came even as the Senate Intelligence Committee issued their bipartisan report highlighting our election system’s significant vulnerabilities.    With the 2020 elections just over a year away, we need to fight to ensure that we–and no one else–still determine our leaders. We need you to come to our nation’s capital, meet with your representatives, and urge them to pass legislation that protects our elections.  

Join Us for Hill Days!

  Stand Up Republic is hosting a two-day event which will bring concerned Americans just like you from across the nation together for training and direct advocacy with elected representatives. On Monday, September 23rd you’ll meet SUR staff, hear from experts in the reform movement, network with like-minded people from across the country, and receive advocacy and organizing training. Then, on Tuesday the 24th, we take to the Hill! You’ll meet with your members of Congress and their staff about legislation focused on securing our elections and improving our democracy.  

September 23-24, 2019 Where: Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. Why: To secure our elections! 

  Our elections are the heart of our system of self-government and the mechanism through which we select our leaders and hold them accountable. If we allow foreign adversaries and corrupt politicians to deprive us of this essential power, we are ceding our liberty to them. Without free and fair elections, we cannot remain free.   It is critical that members of Congress and their staff hear from you, their constituents. We need your help to show Congress that there is a strong network of Americans who care about protecting our democracy and securing our elections.    Stand up and join us in September for Hill Days! 

Trump’s Racist Attacks Won’t Stop Until We Stop Him

The overt racism that has been on display in the past few days is not an aberration, it’s nothing new: this is who Donald Trump is.

Trump’s first serious foray into American politics was as a vocal promoter of the conspiracy theory that President Obama was not a US citizen. He later launched his 2016 presidential campaign using nativist, xenophobic rhetoric.

In the aftermath of his Twitter tirade, the President continues to be unconcerned with the impact that his words have, and that white nationalist groups are lauding him for this language, arguing that “many people agree with me.”

In typical Trump fashion, he’s happy to harbor support wherever he can get it, even from white supremacists, as long as it consolidates his power. This has changed the shape and direction of the Republican Party in dangerous ways.

During today’s House Republican leadership press conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was directly asked if the President’s comments were racist, to which he simply replied, “No.” Senator Lindsey Graham doubled down on Trump’s rhetoric, saying the “squad” of Congresswomen Trump attacked were “communists” and “anti-American”.

In his ranting, Graham argued that Trump should “aim higher” by just focusing on policy differences, but he and many others overlook the fact that the president is incapable of aiming higher; he is a racist and we should call a spade a spade.

We know that this will not be the last time Donald Trump spews racist attacks on his political opponents. So this is a time to choose; this is not about right or left, it’s about right and wrong. Once the Republican party chooses to go down this dark and dangerous road it will be nearly impossible to get back to our founding principle, that all men and women are created equal.

Trump is following the authoritarian handbook to the letter. He’s consciously working to divide the electorate along cultural and racial lines, and he thinks he’s succeeding. We cannot allow it. Immigrants are essential to prosperity, opportunity and security for all Americans. Our multicultural society is what makes our nation strong and Stand Up Republic will not stay silent when the President or anyone else espouses racist remarks.

Four Things We Must Hear in the Debates this Week

Tonight, the presidential race for 2020 begins in earnest with the first Democratic primary debates. With 20 candidates taking the stage over the next two nights — and more watching from the sidelines — there will be little time to address every important issue. And, yet, we should expect and call upon these candidates to address an issue that is core to all of the others: defending and strengthening our democracy.

If any candidate is to renew our democracy, they need to be able to unite the country with a platform that honors liberty, equality, and truth. Which candidates will put our democracy above partisan interest, and who will work aggressively to lead with integrity and root out corruption? The candidates will debate plenty of policy issues, but none is more important to our future than this.  

We need to hear that they will:  

1. Reject foreign help from adversaries who wish to harm America.  

First and foremost, we need to hear from every candidate for office, regardless of party, that they will fully reject any efforts by a foreign nation to undermine our elections and report them to the FBI.  

2. Commit to defending our elections from future attacks.   

From securing our voting systems to improving our electoral processes to holding foreign aggressors accountable, the integrity of our elections is paramount.  

3. Work for us, not for themselves and not for a small, divisive, entrenched base.   

We need a leader who unifies us across political, racial, gender and other lines, to help foster a more inclusive America.  

4. End the corruption, abuse of power, and cronyism that has defined the Trump administration.   

We demand a president who is accountable to the people, the law, and to the other branches of government which balance its powers. Trump has done everything he can to escape that accountability, our next president must strengthen it.  

The 2020 elections will be grueling, and the president will do his best to divide Americans and scare them into his reelection. We must prove to him and every politician that the tactics of hate and fear will not win in America.  

To do that, we must make ourselves heard now, early in the process. Republican, Democrat, Independent or otherwise, this is a critical decision for America, so we must all stand up to demand candidates who will work to protect and improve our democracy.