WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the ARTICLE ONE Act, a bill that would reclaim significant legislative powers delegated to the executive branch by the National Emergencies Act of 1976.
When Congress passed this act in 1976, it gave the president of the United States the ability to exercise unilateral power like a king. Now, there are more than forty ongoing national emergencies that were never approved by Congress and have no expiration date.
“This kind of lawmaking-by-proclamation runs directly counter to the vision of our Founders and undermines the safeguards protecting our freedom,” said Sen. Lee. “It’s high time that Congress reclaimed its legislative power and restored constitutional balance to our Republic.”
Of the bill, Rep. Roy said, “The presidency was never meant to have monarchical power over the American people; that’s why the framers of our constitution designed a system of checks and balances.
“For far too long, however, presidents from both sides of the aisle have ignored Congress and undermined the constitutional order by abusing the virtually unchecked power to declare national emergencies.
“The Article One Act reasserts Congress’ authority over emergency declarations and rebalances federal power between the legislative and executive branches as the framers of the Constitution intended for it. I am proud to join my friend Senator Mike Lee in reintroducing this bill and am glad to have Representative Steve Cohen join me in this bipartisan initiative.”
Of the bill, Sen. Blumenthal said, “Requiring the reauthorization of emergency declarations after 30 days will reassert Congress’ role in governing our nation during times of crisis. If we continue to sit on the sidelines, our institution will ignore its constitutional responsibility, undermining our fundamental separation of powers.”
Of the bill, Sen. Braun said, “The Biden administration has gotten into the bad habit of forcing their unpopular measures through Executive Order that otherwise would not make it through the congressional legislative process. I’m proudly cosponsoring this bill that reclaims and solidifies the Legislative Branch as the lawmaking authority in America.”
Of the bill, Rep. Cohen said, “When I was Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, I held hearings on the National Emergencies Act and built bipartisan support for its reform. Our government is defined by checks and balances. But right now, Presidents can tap into emergency powers without any meaningful political check, time limit, or public rationale. We need to restore the balance of power and make sure that emergency powers are used only in emergencies and that Congress is integral to the process. I’m pleased to join with my colleague in the House, Congressman Chip Roy and Senators Mike Lee and Richard Blumenthal in this continuing bipartisan effort. An emergency declared during the Carter Administration should not still be in effect.”
The ARTICLE ONE Act would automatically end all future emergency declarations made pursuant to the NEA after 30 days unless Congress affirmatively votes to extend the emergency. Currently, Congress can cancel an emergency declaration only by passing a resolution that can withstand a presidential veto.
The bill’s full name is the “Assuring that Robust, Thorough, and Informed Congressional Leadership is Exercised Over National Emergencies Act.”
For full bill text, click HERE.