Stefanik backs act to limit emergency declarations

Candidate Elise Stefanik (R) speaks at a debate held by Spectrum News at its studio in Albany in October 2018. (Photo — Jenn March, Special to the Post-Star)

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has cosponsored the Guarding Congressional Authority Act, which aims to give Congress more authority during national emergency declarations, like the one from President Donald Trump which Stefanik voted to block last week.

Stefanik said the act would end the politicization that comes with national emergencies. It would set a 60-day expiration date on any national emergency declared by the executive branch, unless Congress acts to approve the declaration or change the timeline.

“One of the hallmarks of our democracy is a strong system of checks and balances on the executive branch – as a constitutional conservative, I believe strongly that we must fight to ensure it stays that way,” Stefanik said.

Trump’s declaration shifts military construction money toward building a $6 billion wall on the U.S. southern border. Trump stated that not having a wall constitutes “a border security and humanitarian crisis.”

Since 1976 only two executive emergency declarations have authorized military action, and this is the first one since 9/11.

Former President Barack Obama issued 12 emergency declarations during his presidency, the majority of which were focused overseas and meant to impose sanctions on other countries. The only declaration not focused on foreign countries was a 2009 one responding to the H1N1 flu pandemic.

The Guarding Congressional Authority Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. John Curtis from Utah.