We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

How is everyone coping with the national emergency? No, not that one.

1 16 26

How is everyone coping with the national emergency? No, President Trump has not yet followed through on his threat to get funding for a border wall by invoking special provisions of obscure military construction laws.

I’m talking about the national emergency due to the “actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Belarus and other persons to undermine Belarus’ democratic processes.” President George W. Bush declared it on June 16, 2006, and it has been in effect ever since.

This is just one of 31 presidentially declared national emergencies currently in force, the oldest of which President Jimmy Carter decreed in 1979, to enable the freezing of Iranian assets during the hostage crisis.

Plainly, if Trump evades Congress’s refusal to fund a border wall by declaring a national emergency at the border, thus freeing up otherwise committed military funds, it would not be the first time a president took advantage of the inherent elasticity of the term.

This is no accident but the foreseeable result of numerous statutes in which Congress has delegated ostensibly exceptional lawmaking power to the executive branch.

These provisions allow presidential emergency rule in certain circumstances — situationally, because the U.S. Constitution, unlike those of other countries, allows no general state of emergency. The laws usefully enable the federal government to respond to crises quickly and decisively, natural disasters and epidemics being the classic examples.

Yet they may also........

© Washington Post