Lawfare: Emergency Powers Reform Within Grasp
Presidential Reform Project co-chairs Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith published the following article in Lawfare in which they discuss the need to reform the National Emergencies Act (NEA) and analyze proposals introduced in Congress.
The National Emergencies Act (NEA) was one of the great failures of the 1970s reforms to the presidency. The NEA sought to discipline the dozens of presidential emergency power authorizations in the U.S. Code by empowering Congress to terminate emergency declarations by concurrent resolution. But the Supreme Court’s invalidation of the legislative veto in INS v. Chadha (1983) turned this NEA check on its head. Presidents ever since have exercised delegated emergency powers (and renewed them annually in their discretion) that Congress can terminate an emergency declaration only if it enacts new legislation over a presidential veto. Presidents have exercised this practically unchecked power promiscuously, including in many situations that are not real emergencies. Today there are forty-one emergency declarations in force.