Under the National Emergencies Act the president has complete discretion to issue an emergency declaration—but he must specify in the declaration which powers he intends to use, issue public updates if he decides to invoke additional powers, and report to Congress on the government’s emergency-related expenditures every six months. The state of emergency expires after a year unless the president renews it, and the Senate and the House must meet every six months while the emergency is in effect “to consider a vote” on termination.
At the moment President Donald Trump threatens to bypass Congress and secure funding for a wall along the border with Mexico by declaring a national emergency. With that in mind, here are three national emergency backgrounders:
- Brennan Center for Justice’s A Guide to Emergency Powers and Their Use
- Emergencies Without End: A Primer on Federal States of Emergency, Lawfare
- What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency, The Atlantic