A long list of national emergencies

  • 6 February 2019
  • NormanL

One thing that did not occur in the president's State of the Union address was a declaration of a national emergency along the southern border. President Trump has considered the option in the face of congressional opposition to his request for a border wall. While that option may still be on the table, something else to consider is just how many "national emergencies" are currently active.

According to the Congressional Research Service, 30 -- yes 30 -- national emergencies are still in effect. Some date back to the 1970s, and relate to Iran. President Trump declared a national emergency in Nov. 2018 aimed at "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua."

The CRS has a second report listing 21 expired national emergencies.

Reviewing each list is useful for understanding the extent of a president's power to declare emergencies, and under what circumstances. It's also a bit of a history lesson, taking us on a trip through policy crises dating back to the Cold War.