Magazine May 6, 2019, Issue

The Not-So-Incredible Shirking Congress

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” in Washington, D.C., February 7, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Presidential power is out of control, and our legislature must reassert itself

Imagine it’s March 2022. The Republican-controlled Senate has just rejected Speaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, ending any chance of legislative action on climate change before the midterm elections.

Heavy rains have caused flooding along the Ohio and Wabash Rivers in Indiana. The governor has called a state of emergency. And with her legislative agenda in tatters and the economy flat, President Kamala Harris sees her chance: She declares a national emergency over climate change, invoking broad legislative powers pursuant to the National Emergencies Act.

First, President Harris ends all oil, natural-gas, and coal leases on federal lands.

Second, she redirects

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