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Congressman Vicente Gonzalez

Representing the 15th District of Texas

Resolution Would Claw Back Presidential Power From In Emergency Declarations

March 1, 2019
In The News

Washington, DC - A bipartisan group of Members of Congress, led by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), introduced a resolution Wednesday to claw back power from the Executive Branch. By amending the National Emergencies Act, Congress will have to approve any new emergency declaration within 60 days – similar to the War Powers Act. The resolution aims to end the practice of governing by national emergency.

"This resolution is not a rebuke of President Trump's national emergency declaration – the drugs, violence and human trafficking speak for themselves in regards to the true crisis we are facing. This resolution speaks to the politicization of Congress and its failure to lead. Instead of proactively solving problems Congress has delegated our precious power away," said Reed (NY-23). "We must take this power back. Otherwise over time, Congress will be seen as an advisory body instead of the co-equal branch of government the country needs."

Original Co-Sponsors include:

Rep. Salud Carbajal
Rep. John Curtis
Rep. Debbie Dingell
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick
Rep. Vincente Gonzalez
Rep. Josh Gottheimer
Rep. Josh Harder
Rep. Will Hurd
Rep. Dan Lipinski
Rep. Elaine Luria
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Rep. Alex Mooney
Rep. Stephanie Murphy
Rep. Tom O’Halleran
Rep. Bill Posey
Rep. Tom Reed
Rep. Kurt Schrader
Rep. Abigail Spanberger
Rep. Tom Suozzi
Rep. Fred Upton

"National emergencies are no way to govern, regardless of party. The Constitution is clear about our authority and responsibilities. By amending the National Emergencies Act, this bipartisan legislation will help Congress wrest back control and prevent further abuse of executive authority," said Gottheimer (NJ-5).

"The founding fathers designed Congress to be a co-equal branch with the Executive, and this resolution would begin to bring more responsibility back to the Congress, as the Constitution intended," Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) said. "Under this resolution, Presidents would not be able to simply declare national emergencies without the concurrence of the Congress – no matter their political party and no matter the issue."

"When any President declares a national emergency, Congress - the people's elected representatives - should have the final say on why and how it's used. We cannot allow this type of Presidential power to go unchecked. I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to bring the balance of power closer to the will of the people and to protect the checks and balances our Founders intended," said Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07).

"This is about Congress, as a coequal branch of government, reasserting its Constitutional powers," said Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23). "There's no question we have a problem at our border that has existed over multiple presidential administrations, which is why I have supported over $220 billion for homeland security, including technology, manpower and barriers throughout my time in Congress and authored the only bipartisan border security and immigration solution."

Congressman Tom O'Halleran (AZ-01) said. "Our democracy is built on the principle that each branch of government must act as a check on the others to prevent the abuse of power. No president, regardless of party, should have the power to defy our duly elected legislature or our federal courts. This bipartisan legislation strengthens Congress' ability to hold the Executive Branch accountable and prevent overreach, and I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce it today."

"Legislating must remain in the Legislative Branch. Presidents should not be allowed to use a national emergency declaration as a justification to push through priorities that Congress has not funded," Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) said. "This bill will ensure the proper checks and balances are in place and reclaim Congress's Constitutional authority."

"No President has the power to ignore our Constitution and rule of law," said Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24). "That's why I joined the Problem Solvers to pass this resolution preventing current and future fake national emergencies."

"This legislation represents an important step to rein in the excessively broad authority that has been delegated to the executive branch and will prevent future circumstances in which legislative leaders rely on the President's executive authority to let them off the hook for failing to do their jobs," Congressman John Curtis (UT-03) said. "Reasserting our proper role under Article 1 as intended by the Constitution should be a bipartisan priority that all of my colleagues can support."

"Our government was set up to give power to the American people by giving power to Congress," said Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03). "But Congress has allowed presidents to seize more and more power; declarations of "national emergencies" are one example of this. We need this legislation to give power back to the people by giving power back to Congress."

"For too long, Congress has ceded its Constitutional duties to the executive branch. In order for us to protect the voice of 'We, the People,' we must restore that authority to the branch that is closest and most accountable to the people -- the legislative branch," Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5) said. "This legislation is not about any specific national emergency declaration but instead will make changes to the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to ensure Congress has a more central role in the national emergency declaration process as a whole. By leading on this legislation, we can begin to restore the rightful role of Congress in this process."

Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-05) said, "The President's job is to execute the will of Congress, not the other way around. Abusing executive orders or declaring national emergencies, and delegating the necessary funding for them, all fall under Congress's purview. For too long, Presidents of both parties have usurped Congress's express constitutional authority to make the law of the land and appropriate taxpayer dollars as your Representatives."

"It is critical that Congress reassert its vested powers, established by Article I of the U.S. Constitution," Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) said. "Congress must uphold its duty to check the power of the Executive and provide oversight when a sitting President attempts to circumvent the power of the purse via a national emergency declaration. As a proud member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, I stand by Congressmen Gottheimer and Reed in this effort to safeguard Constitutional Congressional authority."

"Congress is a coequal branch of government. It has the authority to stop presidential overreach," Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) said. "I'm proud to support bipartisan legislation that reinforces our system of checks and balances."

"Preserving the fundamental principle of constitutional separation of powers is not a partisan issue, it's a congressional duty. The administration's emergency declaration was a drastic overstep of Executive authority, and Congress must affirm its constitutional role as the appropriator of taxpayer dollars and a check and balance on presidential power. I'm proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill, which would require congressional approval after an emergency is declared, without hampering the administration's ability to react quickly to true emergencies. Having sworn and oath now multiple times to uphold and defend the Constitution, I'll keep fighting to protect congressional authority from executive overreach, no matter who is in the White House, and to reaffirm the importance of responsible, balanced governance," said Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07).