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The National Emergencies Act grants the US president certain powers during times of national crisis — freeing the White House from many legal checks on the executive branch.Since the law was updated in 1978 – 58 national emergencies have been declared.Perhaps the most well known use of the act was President Franklin D Roosevelts order to intern more than 110,000 Japanese-Americans after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.George W. Bush also invoked emergency powers in the wake of the September 11th attacks – signing off on extensive wiretapping and enhanced interrogation methods — and Barack Obama used it during the H1N1 flu epidemic.Donald Trump says migrant crossings at the country’s southern border constitutes a national security crisis — using the act gives him acces to billions of dollars to fund his border wall.Critics have accused the president of attempting to use the act as a blank check to get what he wants by circumventing Congress.And republicans are worried this could set a dangerous precedent that could also eventually benefit Democratic presidents.SOT Jill Colvin, Associated Press:The president and the White House have seen a really strong backlash from Republicans in Congress saying, ‘look we really don’t love the emergency declaration idea because what happens if there’s a Democrat in power you know you can have somebody – a new president who decided for instance to declare global warming a national emergency. And we’re concerned about that kind of use of executive authority’.”But the National Emergencies Act can be blocked — Congress can terminate it if both houses vote for it – and the president doesn’t issue a veto. If there’s a presidential veto the act can still be stopped by a Congressional Supermajority.What’s more likely is the act would get bogged down in court — with lawsuits which could go all the way to the Supreme Court.. That’s what happened to President Harry Truman when he tried to nationlize the steel industry during the Korean war.
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