When President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in January to obtain the funding needed to begin construction of a southern U.S. border wall, two things happened:
First, conservative hardliners warned that a future Democrat president could abuse the precedent he’d set to pursue their far-left policies. And second, Democrats rushed to pass a resolution in the House that overturns the president’s national emergency.
Both of these events present big problems for the president — one that Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly been working with Senate Republicans to resolve via a special deal.
The deal reportedly calls for the president signing legislation drafted by Utah Sen. Mike Lee that would limit a national emergency called by any sitting president to just 30 days. For the emergency to continue beyond 30 days, the president would need to obtain congressional authorization.
If we don’t want our president acting like a king we need to start taking back the legislative powers that allow him to do so. The ARTICLE ONE Act will go a long way to restoring the balance of powers in our republic. https://t.co/cOyhJtvPWf
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) March 12, 2019
“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 Tuesday. “Congress gave these legislative powers away in 1976 and it is far past time that we as an institution took them back.”
“If we don’t want our president acting like a king we need to start taking back the legislative powers that allow him to do so. The ARTICLE ONE Act will go a long way to restoring the balance of powers in our republic.”
If the president were to agree to sign this legislation, the conservative hardliners in the GOP-led Senate might agree to vote against the Democrats’ resolution. This in turn would prevent the president from having to issue his first veto — a move that some suspect would be humiliating.
“As a Thursday showdown vote in the Senate neared, GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and others were talking with the White House about related legislation that would curb the ability of presidents to declare national emergencies,” Fox News reported.
“If Trump would commit to signing a bill handcuffing future emergency declarations, more GOP senators might support his border emergency declaration in Thursday’s crucial vote.”
At least ten GOP senators, including Rand Paul, have threatened to vote Thursday in favor of the Democrats’ resolution to terminate the president’s national emergency.
Rand Paul tells reporters he thinks there are 10 Republican senators who will vote against the emergency declaration. pic.twitter.com/jjunBtM6YE
— Emily Cochrane (@ESCochrane) March 4, 2019
Enter Pence, who’s been meeting with the likes of Lee and Tillis to make the deal happen: “Lee and Tillis were among five GOP senators who met privately Tuesday at the Capitol with Vice President Mike Pence as Republicans sought a way to bolster support for Trump in Thursday’s crucial vote.”
As of Wednesday morning, no deal had yet been reached. Moreover, it remained unclear whether the president would even accept any deal. According to a White House official who spoke with The Hill, Pence would be “happy to bring their concerns to the president but made zero commitments.”
Those Republican senators who support the deal are hopeful nonetheless.
“Well, the president had problems as a candidate with the Obama overreach, so he’s been on record for some time on this topic. I think this will give him a chance to get back to where he was three years ago,” Sen. Roy Blunt noted to The Hill.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2012
This is how it starts. Obama is now threatening to use an Executive Order for gun control http://t.co/buNU2IuD Welcome to his 2nd term.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2013
During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also appeared to signal support for Lee’s legislation.
“We’re looking at some ways to revisit the law,” he said of the National Emergencies Act, adding that he “may well” back Lee’s legislation. “There’s a lot of discomfort with the law. … Was it too broad back in the ’70s when it was passed? So yeah, we’re discussing altering that.”
“It is no secret that the use of the national emergency law has generated a good deal of discussion. It’ll all come to a head on Thursday.”
It’s presumed that both a vote on the Democrats’ resolution and a vote on Lee’s legislation will occur Thursday.
While Senate Republicans appear to believe their deal is a fair compromise, some on social media have cried foul, questioning how Lee’s legislation would have affected the national emergency declared after the Sept. 11 attacks, and asking why efforts to limit the president’s power were never made during former President Barack Obama’s eight years in office.
So 911 was a national emergency and you are saying after 30 days all funding. Should Have been stopped
— Rich Yoxthimer (@YoxthimerRich) March 13, 2019
Mike Lee, where were you when Obama declared National Emergency? Or it’s only applies to Trump? RINO you.
— Michael (@Michael90401) March 13, 2019
If congress would build the wall, @POTUS would not have declared a national emergency. Stand behind the President or lose the next election
— ih8deepstate (@truthforu2020) March 13, 2019
Why the hell would you start down this road now when you know the situation on our southern border is absolutely a National Emergency?
Shame on you Senator! All immigration needs to be halted until we have control of our borders!#BuildTheWall #ShutDownImmigration#CongressSucks
— Jennifer 🇺🇸 (@Tuffylynn65) March 12, 2019
@SenMikeLee Support the President’s NATIONAL EMERGENCY. He’s doing, what you did not, protect the people.
We put up with Obama for 8 yrs for crap. Do what’s right, Protect the People!
— Donna Leist (@leist_donna) March 12, 2019
@SenMikeLee you are spitting in the face of ever angel mom for not supporting a National Emergency and are lying to the American people. To treat Trump different then any other President is shameful. Don’t tell me you stand for America!
— A. Miller (@AMiller02696761) March 12, 2019
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