General Question

windex's avatar

Can Obama declare a state of emergency and just pass what needs to be passed?

Asked by windex (2926points) July 17th, 2011

Disclaimer: I don’t care about politics. If it was up to me, all lobbyists would be thrown in jail immediately and any politician who didn’t deliver what he/she promised would face legal action and would never work in the government again.

Because of what is going on in the economy, and the country and the budget/deficit, I was wondering if Obama could overrule policies and law and attempt to fix what is happening in the country.

I ask you to please keep this ‘party free’ I don’t care if you think John Boehner is evil or not, or that spending billions of dollars a day to murder people instead of the education system is illogical.

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16 Answers

RareDenver's avatar

I think things have to be pretty bad before a state of emergency can be declared. I don’t live in the states but from what I can tell you’re not there yet.

MilkyWay's avatar

As far as I know, the President does not have the full authority to pass laws.

Aethelflaed's avatar

For the economy? No. While the US does have some situations in which the executive branch can declare a state of emergency, this is not one of them, as it is not a true emergency. Even if someone does declare a state of emergency, the raised powers only apply to the reason for the state of emergency – for example, if the state of emergency is cause by a flood in Missouri, then the governor of Missouri can’t use it to pass legislation on unions or whatever they feel like, only to fix things pertaining to the flood. You can read more here.

The entire US legislative system is set up so that no one can do almost anything on their own, that it always requires cooperation.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It would be not be constitutional, the Executive branch can not pass laws.
The “taking over for emergency reasons” can only be use for the direct application of the emergency, NOT financial, religious, or for your political party reasons.

Nullo's avatar

@all Do keep in mind the modern tendency for the office of the President to be free with its unconstitutional use of executive orders to effectively make legislation.

dabbler's avatar

A State of Emergency is probably not applicable in this case, although it is a very serious problem. A State of Emergency might kick in after a default as we head to hell in a handbasket.

However, there is a lot of debate about the applicability of the 14th Amendment with which one can easily conclude that a default is unconstitutional, and that the whole debt ‘ceiling’ thing is a political football and should not be considerred binding.

The facetious arguments of the hold-fast-the-debt-ceiling crowd is that it has something to do with spending in the future. It does not. Increasing the debt ceiling allows payments for money the congress Has Already Spent. So the clowns who are pretending that they are saving our childrens’ children from our misbehaviour ignore that the deed is already done, the money is already spent. Congress is in fact legally obliged to come up with moeny to pay for what’s been spent.

filmfann's avatar

No. If that power rested with the President, it would have been used by now, instead of the unconstitutional signing statements.

CWOTUS's avatar

It’s one thing to “not care about” politics. But don’t be stupid about it. If our government wasn’t guided in any way by lobbyists, then it would have collapsed soon after it began. As odious as they may be sometimes, lobbyists are at least experts about the business and legal issues they represent. Legislators with no more guide to national policy than their own good sense would leave us… well, you should have already been horrified by the idea of “legislators with good sense”.

Seriously, though, since legislators like to make laws to set national policy in all kinds of areas, including (and maybe “especially”) in areas in which they have no knowledge whatever, lobbyists at least aid in keeping them informed as to what some of the intended and unintended consequences of their acts will be.

Furthermore, some political promises should not be kept, or cannot be kept without even more disastrous consequences. It would be more useful if citizens and voters (such as yourself, for example) would recognize which promises those are and politic strongly against candidates making such sweeping statements. For example, politicians cannot “create jobs”, unless they hire more government workers. Since our taxes pay for those salaries and benefits, we need to recognize that “creating new government branches and jobs” is not going to help the economy, for the most part. (It’s not impossible, just unlikely.) For another example, a candidate who promises that “we will cut all defense spending” or equally outlandish promises, which might sound good at first, will significantly weaken and degrade our defense. (Not that it couldn’t stand ‘some’ – even ‘significant’ – cutbacks.)

But with that aside, the current “debt ceiling” issue is not an emergency. It could well become one if the US threatens massive default on debt obligations (and since Social Security is not a “debt obligation”, it will be sacrificed at least temporarily in favor of those). But for now it is a political issue, not much different than any other except for the stakes being played for and the ticking clock. In case of real emergency, the President does have broad – temporary – powers. This is not that time.

Roby's avatar

If he were a dictator he would. He might try regardless.

TexasDude's avatar

Oh dear God, I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly think that such a scenario would be a good idea. Our government is supposed to have a balance of power between its three branches. This is one of the most sacred and important aspects of the way our government is supposed to work. To violate it is treason and an act of war against the American people.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Yep, that’s called fascism. Keeps the trains running on time.

ETpro's avatar

George W. Bush took signing statements to a whole new level during his time in office. . Signing statements are supposed to be marginal notes a president adds to a bill as he’s signing it, indicating how he wants his administration to apply and enforce the bill. But Bush used them to essentially write his own new laws, leaving Congress out of the loop. And of course, the Republican Congress went right along with that. So if Republicans would treat Obama like they did Bush, he could write his own little signing statement legislation raising the debt limit.

Of course, Republicans do not treat Obama like Bush. If they did, this debt limit battle would never have happened. They willingly raised the limit 7 times under Bush. Since the end of WWII, Congress has raised the debt limit 71 times. No party hs ever even considered deliberately defaulting on our debt obligations, But despite Congressional hypocrisy, Obama just might use the fact that the 14th amendment requires that debt be honored, and raise it using a signing statement with the argument that the Constitution requires it. Of course, if he does, the GOP will try to impeach him for not letting the economy go over the cliff. Things will get very interesting, indeed. But that constitutional argument is one ace in the hole Obama holds.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro Similarly, neither the Democrats nor the media treat Obama like Bush, either, even when they have reason to. Just sayin’.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo You are right. Our right wing press was much more forgiving of Bush. There definitely are liberal media online, but the bulk of the Media is consistently in the hands of the far right and repeats their talking points as if there were some truth in them.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro You must be referring to MSNBC, CNN, et al. Bunches, I might add, that the Right doesn’t really trust.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo No, I am talking about the mainstream media. ABC< NBC< CBS, CNN, and the network of major circulation newspapers. They are all controlled by a handful of multinational corporations who put managing editors in place to hold the line on right-wing “reality.” Why has nobody questioned the lie that you can’t raise taxes in a recession. Why has the press largely allowed the wild lie that you can slash spending in a recession and that will have no effect? Why are the bulk of nationally sydicated columnists right wing? Why,m for that matter, do they not bother to challenge the constant lie that the press is far-left liberal?

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