House Speaker Nancy Pelosi provided a Band-Aid to President Trump’s unconstitutional yet literally legal national emergency in the form of a vote to overturn his declaration. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has now unveiled the permanent solution.
Lee’s Article One Act would formally update the National Emergencies Act, mandating that Congress vote to approve a national emergency within 30 days of its declaration, otherwise it expires. Congress abdicated their responsibility to check the emergency powers of the president long ago, and the necessary solution would always be a bill that restricts the president’s emergency powers — temporarily or for good. Lee’s bill does the latter.
Predictably, the Article One Act is dead on arrival in the House if it provides cover for Republicans not to vote to overturn Trump’s declaration. So Republicans are left with one real option: vote yes on both Pelosi and Lee’s bills.
If Trump’s declaration passes, Democrats will come back gloating in two or six years with their own phony national emergencies. Gun confiscation? It’s an emergency! Funding federal jobs guarantees? It’s an emergency! Killing all the farting cows? It’s an emergency.
Sure, Pelosi’s resolution will give the White House an embarrassing news cycle, but Lee’s would actually fix the problem for good. Republican cowards who refuse to overturn the emergency declaration now that Lee’s bill is on the table aren’t just betraying their duty to check the executive branch, they’re throwing away a pristine opportunity to protect the public from socialist insanity if one of the most insane Democratic candidates wins back the White House in 2020 or beyond.