March 12, 2019
Lawmakers Would Be Naïve to Believe Trump Would Accept Emergency Authority Limits
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: Vice President Mike Pence reportedly is telling Republican lawmakers that President Donald Trump will sign legislation to curb presidential power under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 if Republicans back Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration of a national emergency. Trump declared the emergency to get border wall funding that Congress denied. Public Citizen filed the first lawsuit challenging Trump’s declaration.
A president who believes in respecting constitutional boundaries and understands the perils of invoking an “emergency” to circumvent Congress never would have issued an emergency declaration in the first place. It is Congress’ duty to restrain this unconstitutional assertion of presidential authority, and it would be naïve, to put it very kindly, to trust that President Trump will agree in the future to new limits on his emergency authority – limits that he already should have recognized.