ACTION ALERT: Trump Is Abusing His Emergency Powers. Congress Must Rein Him In
Petition to Congress:
“Amend the National Emergencies Act to scale back the emergency powers of the presidency and create strong protections against authoritarian overreach.”
Donald Trump is trampling the Constitution and acting like a wannabe dictator.
First, he declared a fake national emergency to build his racist wall. Then, after both houses of Congress resisted his plans to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to fuel human rights abuses in Yemen, he simply declared a state of emergency and did it anyway.1This week, he prepared an emergency declaration to impose tariffs on Mexico as part of his racist war on immigrants.2
A reckless authoritarian like Trump should not have this power, but Congress has given it to presidents for decades through the National Emergencies Act. Congress has the ability and responsibility to reform the NEA and stop this dangerous extension of executive power.
With both Democrats and Republicans pushing back on the Saudi arms sales and the tariffs, we need to seize this moment of bipartisan resistance and demand that Congress rein in Trump now.
From imposing martial law to suspending free speech and even shutting down portions of the Internet, whoever occupies the White House has the ability to sweep aside our civil liberties during a national state of emergency.
It sounds too terrifying to be true, but it’s legal under current law. In fact, there are 30 states of emergency in effect right now, each giving the executive branch unusual powers.3 In the hands of a racist, autocrat like Trump – who regularly uses his power to attack people of color, Muslims and immigrants, spur violence, and foster an atmosphere of fear – these powers are even more terrifying.
Congress can reform the National Emergencies Act and must do so now. It should clearly define what constitutes an emergency, automatically terminate states of emergency after 30 days, make it illegal to extend emergencies indefinitely and limit emergency powers to those necessary for each specific emergency. It should also take action to end all current emergency declarations.
The vast emergency powers given to the president are a problem bigger than any one individual or fake crisis.Congress must use its oversight powers, reassert its authority and restrict the powers it has for too long abandoned to the executive branch. Right now, there’s a rare moment of Republican frustration with Trump’s overreach. We need to step up right now and put extraordinary public pressure on Congress to act.
Tell Congress: Trump is abusing emergency powers. Rein him in.
Thank you for speaking out.
• Dan De Luce and Robert Windrem, “Trump faces bipartisan pushback over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE,” NBC News, June 5, 2019.
• Rafael Bernal and Jordan Fabian, “Trump plans to declare new national emergency to impose tariffs,” The Hill, June 6, 2019.
• Elizabeth Goitein, “What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency,” The Atlantic, January/February 2019 Issue.