Emergencies Need an Expiration Date

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 25, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Granting presidents extraordinary powers indefinitely is a recipe for disaster.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE C harles C. W. Cooke and several other of my National Review colleagues have written urgently and intelligently about President Joe Biden’s proposal to illegally and unethically extend the Trump administration’s COVID-19 eviction moratorium. But the eviction moratorium is a prime example of a much larger problem with presidential emergency powers.

Since federal emergency-powers law took its modern form during the presidency of Gerald Ford, there have been 71 national emergencies declared — an average of 1.6 every year. Incredibly, 37 of those national emergencies — more than half — are still in effect. Those dozens of semi-permanent emergencies include the 1979

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