CREDO Action

Congress must scale back the White House's emergency powers

Sign the petition

Petition to Congress:

"Use your authority to scale back the emergency powers of the presidency, including investigating and voting on current declarations of emergency, amending or repealing laws that provide excessive power, creating strong protections against authoritarian overreach, and legally defining what qualifies as a state of emergency."

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Congress must scale back the White House's emergency powers

    The Senate just voted to reject Donald Trump's fake emergency declaration. Both houses of Congress have now issued a public rebuke of Trump's racist, authoritarian power grab.1

    House Republicans were too cowardly to stand up to Trump, so he will be able to veto the resolution soon. But Congress can and must build on the momentum from this vote and use its authority to rein in Trump now.2

    Tell Congress: Scale back the White House's emergency powers.

    From imposing martial law to suspending free speech and even shutting down portions of the internet, whoever occupies the White House has the ability to sweep aside our civil liberties during a national state of emergency.3 It sounds too terrifying to be true, but under current law, this would be legal. In fact, there are 30 states of emergency in effect right now, each giving the executive branch unusual powers. In the hands of a racist, autocrat like Trump – who regularly uses his power to attack people of color, Muslims and immigrants, spur violence, and foster an atmosphere of fear – these powers are even more terrifying.

    Authoritarian despots can only dream about some of the powers that Congress has handed over to the White House, and it's clear that Trump desperately wants to hold on to them. This week, Republicans desperately sought some compromise to avoid having to take a vote to rebuke Trump. They even proposed amending the National Emergencies Act to limit presidential emergencies to 30 days without a vote by Congress to extend them. But the White House showed its true colors and rejected any change.

    The vast emergency powers given to the president are a problem bigger than any one individual or fake crisis. Voting against one emergency declaration – knowing Trump will veto it anyway – is only a start. Congress must use its oversight powers, reassert its authority and restrict the powers it has for too long abandoned to the executive branch. Only extraordinary public pressure will convince Congress to act, so we need to step up right now.

    Tell Congress: Scale back the White House's emergency powers.

    Thank you for speaking out.


    1. Emily Cochrane and Glenn Thrush, "Senate Rejects Trump’s Border Emergency Declaration, Setting Up First Veto," The New York Times, March 14, 2019.
    2. Elizabeth Goitein, "What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency," The Atlantic, January/February 2019 Issue.
    3. Ibid.