Bipartisan ARTICLE ONE Act Aims to Curtail Presidential Authority Over National Emergencies
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has taken a crucial step towards what he argues is restoring the balance of power within the United States government by introducing the ARTICLE ONE Act.
This bill is named for Article One of the U.S. Constitution, which laid out the authorities for the U.S. Congress. The bill aims to reclaim significant legislative powers that have gradually been delegated to the executive branch through the National Emergencies Act of 1976.
Initially, the National Emergencies Act of 1976 was enacted to grant limited authority to the president to address unforeseen and urgent crises.
However, over time, this power has snowballed and granted Presidents the ability to exercise unilateral authority like they were a King.
As of today, there are more than forty ongoing national emergencies that were never approved by Congress and have no expiration date. This has raised concerns about the unchecked scope of Presidential power.
According to Senator Lee, this form of "lawmaking-by-proclamation" directly contradicts the vision of the Founding Fathers and undermines the fundamental safeguards put in place to protect individual freedoms. He argues that Congress must reclaim its rightful legislative power and restore the constitutional balance of powers.
The ARTICLE ONE Act has garnered bipartisan support across both Congress and the Senate even in polarized times.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) argues that the bill highlights the crucial role of Congress in governing the nation during times of crisis. He states that the requirement for reauthorization of emergency declarations after 30 days will reaffirm Congress' authority and uphold the foundational principle of separation of powers.
Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) has also joined the bipartisan initiative, demonstrating the widespread recognition of the need to restore equilibrium in the exercise of emergency powers.
Cohen, drawing from his previous experience as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, stresses the urgency of restoring the balance of power. He asserts that emergency powers should only be utilized in genuine emergencies and highlights the indispensable role of Congress in the decision-making process.
The ARTICLE ONE Act seeks to automatically terminate all future emergency declarations made under the National Emergencies Act after 30 days unless Congress votes to extend the emergency. Presently, Congress can only cancel an emergency declaration through the passage of a resolution that can withstand a presidential veto.