Michigan Rep. Justin Amash may have earned himself the ire of Trump supporters but his recent bill is one that could define how much power the government has over the people going forward, and as such, will be one of the most telling votes Congress will ever have.
According to Reason, Amash introduced the National Emergencies Reform Act which has the ability to limit the control a president has over emergency powers. With Democrats likely to take control for the next four years, it’s a bill that could severely limit the power the authoritarian party has over the people.
As Reason explains, declaring emergency powers gives the President a great deal of power and can retain that power in perpetuity if they see fit. Dozens of emergencies declared decades ago are still in effect now:
Under current law, the executive office can invoke a national emergency to enact a policy that lawmakers might otherwise reject. Such a declaration can go on without an end in sight: The National Emergencies Act (NEA) currently holds that an “emergency” is only over when the president says it is, or when Congress passes a veto-proof resolution.
Of the 69 national emergencies declared since the NEA’s inception in 1976, 35 are still ongoing. Seven originated with President Donald Trump, 10 with President Barack Obama, 11 with President George W. Bush, and six with President Bill Clinton. The remaining one dates back to the reign of Jimmy Carter.
Amash’s bill will neuter this rule by making any emergency declaration a 60-day affair at most and can only continue if congress votes to keep it going.
“Going back to the Framers of the Constitution, Americans have recognized the president’s inherent power as chief executive to act swiftly and unilaterally in an emergency. But such power exists only so long as Congress has no opportunity to act,” Amash said in a statement.
“Laws like the National Emergencies Act are not—and, under our Constitution, cannot be—grants of legislative powers to the president,” he continued. “Too often, emergencies are being invoked without appropriate justification, and the transition of power back to Congress isn’t happening. My bill will restore constitutional balance to these situations by limiting the duration of presidential emergency declarations without restricting the president’s ability to act in true emergencies.”
Will Congress vote to reduce government powers?
As far as the Democrats go, the answer is likely “no.” Especially with Biden having one foot into the Oval Office, it’s unlikely that Congress will act to reduce any power it has at all, but we expect that.
The real question is, will Republicans?
Republicans just got done helping Democrats pass one of the worst pork-filled bills in the history of America. It’s clear that the vast majority of them, with few exceptions *cough* Rand Paul *cough* actually live up to the expectations put upon them by the voters in their party.
Republicans should vote for Amash’s bill for tactical reasons. That is true, however, it should also do so because it’s the right thing to do. The executive and legislative branches of our congress should be working toward giving up more power, not acquiring it.
Those who don’t vote to do so should be voted out in the midterms and replaced, along with those who chose to approve the “stimulus” bill that was more ham than stimulus.
This is a test, and Republicans had better pass it.