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.