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On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), introduced the Reforming Emergency Powers to Uphold the Balances and Limitations Inherent in the Constitution (REPUBLIC) Act. The legislation would allow the President to take immediate action in crisis situations but also require congressional review of presidential invocation of emergency powers that threaten the constitutional principles of separation of powers and due process.

“The REPUBLIC Act reins in the blank check of power presidents write themselves in the name of self-declared emergencies,” said Dr. Paul. “It does all this while preserving the president’s authority to act immediately to defend our nation in a real emergency.”


Current law, under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, authorizes the President to unilaterally determine when and how to unlock and exercise extraordinary powers not permitted during normal operations. Once declared, emergencies are rarely terminated. To wit, the 1979 national emergency relating to the Iranian hostage crisis is still in effect.

Some powers are so inimical to the concept of a constitutional republic they should have never been granted in the first place. One such emergency power pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934 gives the President nearly unchallenged authority to restrict access to the internet, conduct email surveillance, and control computer systems, television and radio broadcasts, and cell phones. Additionally, the executive branch issues secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents, which, among other things, have in the past authorized the detention of “dangerous persons” within the United States and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus during emergency situations.

The REPUBLIC Act would:

  1. Allow the President to exercise emergency powers for 30 days prior to congressional approval.
  2. Allow Congress to renew emergencies for a maximum of 90 days per any Act of Congress enacting a renewal.
  3. Prohibit the President from issuing a subsequent declaration and exercising emergency powers with respect to the same circumstances if a national emergency is not approved or renewed.
  4. Prohibit any national emergency from continuing beyond a five-year period.
  5. Provide expedited procedures in each House of Congress to consider joint resolutions of approval.
  6. Require the President to report to Congress describing the circumstances necessitating the declaration of an emergency, the estimated duration of the emergency, a summary of the actions the President intends to take, and the actions taken in the preceding 90-day period.
  7. Terminate the ability of the President to seize control of U.S. communications infrastructure pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934.
  8. Prohibit the use of IEEPA to sanction U.S. persons without due process.
  9. Require congressional approval before the President deploys the use of force pursuant to the Insurrection Act.
  10. Require the disclosure of Presidential Emergency Action Documents to Congress.

You can read the REPUBLIC Act HERE.

Author: Press Release


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