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Sen. Paul: Presidential executive orders are an abuse of political power

By RAND PAUL
United States Senator

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 — I have consistently opposed Executive overreach, whether the abuse came from a Republican or a Democrat.

I opposed President Obama’s executive orders illegally changing immigration law.

U.S. SENATOR RAND PAUL

Even though I support a security wall in places along our border, I opposed President Trump’s emergency declaration to take money Congress appropriated for other purposes and by emergency order spend that money on a border wall.

In both instances, I did so to protect and preserve the separation of powers. I warned of the dangerous precedent, if we wavered on this fundamental principle of our republic for one political party.

President Trump’s emergency declaration received criticism from both sides of the aisle. Notable, among the Democrats, was then Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who called President Trump’s actions “an outrageous power grab by a president who refuses to accept the constitutional separation of powers.”

Sen. Schumer also said, “The recourse for such a brazen power grab should be an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Congress to terminate the emergency declaration and reassert our constitutional authority.”

So Sen. Schumer was against power grabs disguised as emergency orders when the orders were from a certain President Trump. Which, of course, means he was against power grabs before he was for power grabs.

Now, nearly a year and a half later, Sen. Schumer has flip-flopped on his original statement and claims that the President, who happens to be a Democrat, should use executive power to declare an emergency to circumvent legislative debate. In his own words, “It might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate change emergency.” Schumer went on to say, “He can do many things under emergency powers…that he could do without legislation.”

So now that a Democrat controls the executive branch, it’s seemingly OK for congressional Democrats to abandon the legislative body and the Constitution?

I worried that President Trump’s emergency orders would encourage a Democrat president to declare a national emergency on climate change or gun control. I warned fellow conservatives of the dangerous precedent we would be setting if we compromised on the principle of separation of powers.

Sure enough, here we are with a Democrat president contemplating using emergency powers to invoke dramatic, expensive and perhaps job-killing climate regulations without the consent of Congress. Will any Democrats take my lead and stand up to a President in their own party? It was easy for Schumer to oppose Trump’s emergency orders on the border wall but will any of his caucus stand up to Biden? I doubt it.

Our rare form of government was never intended to rely solely on one person. The Founders wanted to create a system that prevented one branch from becoming more powerful than others; a system that did not intend for a president to declare a national emergency for the purpose of policy reform.

I opposed President Trump’s actions when he declared a national emergency to move funding toward the border wall, not because I disagreed with the policy, but because of the limitations of presidential power. Will any Democrats remember their previous opposition to executive overreach?

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