Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted Tuesday he has some “discomfort” with the 1976 law that gave presidents the power to declare national emergencies, adding he might be willing to change it.
While it is currently constitutional for a president to declare a national emergency, Sen. McConnell, R-Ky., is considering amending the National Emergencies Act, suggesting presidential power is too broad under it.
“There’s a lot of discomfort with the law — not that the president doesn’t have the authority to do what he is doing,” Sen. McConnell told reporters Tuesday, according to reports.
“I think most of my members believe this is not a constitutional issue in that sense, but rather — is this grant of authority to any president, not just this one, any president — was it too broad back in the ’70s when it was passed?”
McConnell was announcing plans to vote Thursday to derail President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on border security.
President Donald Trump declared a national emergency last month in order to secure more federal funds to build additional border barrier between the United States and Mexico. Democrats and even some Republicans have questioned the move, wondering if it crossed the line.
“It is no secret that the use of the national emergency law has generated a good deal of discussion,” McConnell said after the closed-door lunch with the Senate GOP, per reports. “It’ll all come to a head on Thursday.”
Among the anticipated maneuvers is legislation from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, which would require Congress to vote to approve future emergency declarations after 30 days, according to The Hill.
McConnell “may well” support that bill, per the report.
Even if the resolution to oppose President Trump’s national emergency fails, Republicans are going to weigh altering the National Emergencies Act, according to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., an outspoken opponent of President Trump’s border wall emergency order.
“We’re going to put forward some proposals on that,” Sen. Paul said, according to The Hill.