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Tipsheet

Republican Senators Introduce Legislation to Take Back Power From the Executive Branch

A number of Republican Senators introduced legislation Wednesday afternoon that restores power given to the executive branch back to Congress. 

The Separation of Powers Restoration Act of 2019, sponsored by Senators Ben Sasse, Mike Lee, Chuck Grassley, James Lankford, Thom Tillis, Josh Hawley, Mike Crapo, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Michael Rounds (R-and Jim Inhofe, seeks to restore a proper balance of power between the White House and Capitol Hill. 

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"This bill is about Schoolhouse Rock basics,” Senator Sasse released in a statement. “Congress writes the laws, the Executive Branch enforces them, and the courts resolve cases and controversies. That basic system has been turned upside-down: Unelected bureaucrats that nobody can fire write an avalanche of regulations, and the courts just trust them to interpret the limits of the law and even their own regulations. This bill tries to restore some accountability by making sure that judges don’t automatically defer to Washington’s alphabet soup of bureaucracies.”  

Senator Chuck Grassley, who spent years working on executive branch oversight as the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, echoed that sentiment. 

“For years, unelected bureaucrats have relied on judicial deference to expand their own authority beyond what Congress ever intended,” Grassley said. “This has weakened our system of checks and balances and created a recipe for regulatory overreach. The Constitution’s separation of powers makes clear that it is the responsibility of Congress, as the People’s representative, to make the law. And it’s the job of the courts not the bureaucracy to interpret the law. This bill helps to reassert those clear lines between the branches. By doing so, it makes the government more accountable to the People and takes a strong step toward reining in the regulators in any administration.”

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The legislation comes in response to President Trump's declaration of a national emergency along the southern border with Mexico. A vote in the House and Senate to invalidate the declaration passed, which led to President Trump issuing his first veto. The House, led by Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voted this week to override the veto. That vote failed 248-181.

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