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Thread: Rand Paul joins Democrat in bid to undercut Trump's emergency powers

  1. #1

    Rand Paul joins Democrat in bid to undercut Trump's emergency powers

    Two senators, one from each party, have teamed up on a bill that would significantly curtail President Trump’s emergency powers.

    Sens. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, and Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, introduced the Republic Act on Wednesday that would give Congress a much greater say in declaring national emergencies, including automatic sunset provisions.

    “Congress fails its responsibilities to the American people and the constitution when it leaves the executive virtually unchecked to unlock and exercise emergency powers in perpetuity,” Mr. Paul said in a statement.

    Currently, according to a report in Reason magazine, the U.S. is under 32 “national emergency” declarations, including one dating back to 1979 when Iran invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and seized the Americans there as hostages. The last hostage was released in 1981, but the emergency is still technically in effect.

    Calling the National Emergency Act of 1976 “a convenient tool for ticked off executives,” Reason said its primary value now is to expand presidential power to do end-runs around Congress.

    For example, Mr. Trump recently declared a border-security emergency and is using the powers it grants him to shift around money to build a border wall that Congress refused to fund.

    Under Mr. Paul and Mr. Wyden’s bill, that couldn’t happen.

    The Reforming Emergency Powers to Uphold the Balances and Limitations Inherit in the Constitution (REPUBLIC) Act would automatically end all presidential emergency declarations within 72 hours unless Congress agrees to extend it. It also would end all emergencies, even congressionally approved ones, within 90 days unless Congress reaffirmed it.

    Currently, a president can declare an emergency, and it sticks until Congress repudiates it, which a president can make very difficult by vetoing the resolution and requiring a two-thirds supermajority in both houses to override.

    “Presidents have run roughshod over the constitution for far too long because Congress keeps shirking its obligations,” Mr. Wyden said. “Checks and balances are more than pretty words on a page; they’re a bedrock principle of our democracy.”

    The bill also exempts emergency-power sanctions against foreign governments and actors, takes away a president’s power to control communications under some emergency declarations, and ends all current national emergencies unrelated to the foreign-sanctions law.

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  3. #2

    Rand Paul: I don't support Trump having Congress's constitutional power

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said President Trump would solidify opposition to tariffs on Mexico if he justified the levies by arguing there was a national emergency at the border.

    Paul, an outspoken libertarian, said on CNN Tuesday that an emergency declaration would infringe on Congress’s power of the purse and mandate over creating laws.

    “Really tariffs, laws, have to originate with Congress, and I think you just can’t declare emergencies on spending, on tariffs, also on arms sales,” he said, referring to a potential arms sale to Saudi Arabia that has faced staunch opposition in Congress.

    “So I think what you may be finding if we try to run government by emergency is it may solidify opposition. Even people like myself who are largely supportive of President Trump, largely supportive of his initiatives, I can’t be for letting the president have all the power that the Constitution gave to Congress.”

    Trump appears determined to slap the tariffs on Mexico despite Republican opposition, saying the move is necessary to force America’s southern neighbor to take more stringent action to prevent illegal border crossings.

    A 5 percent tariff on all Mexican imports is scheduled to take effect Monday and could steadily rise to 25 percent if Trump is dissatisfied with Mexico’s efforts. The move alarmed Mexico City and prompted it to send a team of diplomats to Washington this week to convince the White House against implementing the penalties.

    “We are going to see if we can do something, but think it’s more likely that the tariffs go on,” Trump said at a press conference Tuesday, adding that it would be “foolish” for Republicans to try to stop him.

    Trump said he would impose the levies under the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, legislation that allows for Congress to terminate the national emergency declaration with a joint resolution passed by both chambers.

    Congressional Republicans are mulling a possible resolution to block the new tariffs, but have expressed skepticism it would even come up on the Senate floor.

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