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.