Senate Republicans already moving to curb the president’s national emergency powers

Not only did enough Senate Republicans vote with Democrats the other day to send their disapproval of Trump’s national emergency to his desk for a veto, but now they are already moving to put new restrictions on the law.

Via The Hill:

But Republicans are already setting their sights on making it easier to terminate future emergency declarations — setting up an intriguing round two.

“It’s an institutional issue, it’s a congressional authorities issue. We have the power of the purse,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). “Under the National Emergencies Act, there was too much latitude that was given away … and we need to pull that back some and let it be used for legitimate national security purposes.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) added that there is “unanimity” in the GOP conference about making changes to the law in the wake of the fight over Trump’s emergency declaration to construct the U.S.-Mexico border wall.



The new legislation already has an author…

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has tapped Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) to craft legislation in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that could win the 60 votes needed for a bill to defeat a filibuster and ultimately pass the upper chamber.

Even GOP senators who sided with Trump are interested in the broader issue.

“I would like to revisit the emergency powers that Congress has provided to the executive branch,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who voted with Trump. “I do think it’s going to be a healthy debate to have.”

“A lot of discomfort with the law”

McConnell told reporters after a closed-door conference lunch that there was “a lot of discomfort with the law” among Republicans and that they were “discussing” ways it could be altered.

Roughly a third of the Republican conference, including members of leadership, is already backing legislation from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would require Congress to pass a resolution approving future national emergency declarations within 30 days. Without the approval, the resolution would be terminated.

“I don’t know of any president that likes to give up power, but clearly Congress has been asleep at the switch,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who voted with Trump but is supporting Lee’s legislation.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) added that “there is a lot of people, myself included, who believe that the National Emergencies Act … needs to be reformed.”

Trump agreed last week to work with Republicans on reforming the national emergencies law. But I must wonder how he feels about this effort so quickly after his veto of the legislation.

It kinda feels like more ‘disapproval’ coming from Republicans in the Senate on Trump’s current national emergency, and I suspect he won’t be eager help them if he feels that his national emergency is the motivation for this new legislation.

But I do think it will be interesting to see how Democrats react to this. So far I think they’re probably ecstatic to see all that’s happened after Pelosi introduced the privileged disapproval in the House a few weeks ago. But will they join with Republicans in placing new restrictions on the law? They’d look like hypocrites if they don’t, given their recent disapproval vote, but then what’s new? They certainly didn’t care that Obama abused his authority as president with DACA even though they are now very outspoken against Trump’s legitimate use of the emergency law. If they are worried that Trump might win in 2020 and get another four years, the might vote to reform the law. But if they think he’ll lose, the might risk looking like hypocritical opportunists so their next president won’t be hamstrung by the new legislation.

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