In a recent vote, the U.S. House rejected a proposal sponsored by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) that would have terminated a presidential declaration of emergency originating with President George W. Bush that related to violence seen in the southern African country the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In this and other circumstances, these presidential statements of emergency have provided the legal foundation for punitive economic actions targeting individuals and interests connected to the violence that’s been seen. The declarations have repeatedly been extended on an annual basis by follow-up presidential action. Boebert’s ultimately failed proposal was part of a series of similar initiatives pushed by far-right Republicans in the House who went after a series of past declarations from a president of a national emergency, hoping to overturn the emergency declarations through Congressional action. In this instance, a full 381 members of the House voted against Boebert’s proposal, while only 27 House members voted in favor.
With a similarly targeted resolution, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) recently led a similarly failed initiative to overturn another such declaration from then-President Bush that related to violence in Syria. Gaetz argued against characterizing that situation as an emergency and contended with the effectiveness of the sanctions that have been imposed, though some may argue that developments in Syria could have been even more devastating and destabilizing in the absence of the U.S. financial action that was taken.
Gaetz’s opponents argued in the House that he stood to provide direct benefits to authoritarian regimes and individuals involved with terror activities like those of ISIL if his initiative was approved, which those against Gaetz contended would directly lead to lifting economic restrictions on these dangerous figures and groups.