Outrage In America

Democrats Aim To Curb President's Power Under Insurrection Act

Lawmakers from both chambers of Congress announced new legislation after President Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act.

Democrats Aim To Curb President's Power Under Insurrection Act
Jose Luis Magana / AP

Some congressional Democrats are working to limit the president's power under the Insurrection Act after President Donald Trump threatened to invoke it in response to ongoing protests nationwide.

The Insurrection Act allows a president to deploy active military troops to quell domestic civil disorder. It was last used in 1992 by former President George H.W. Bush during the Los Angeles riots.

On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced the Curtailing Insurrection Act Violations of Individuals' Liberties Act, or CIVIL Act. The bill would require the president to consult with Congress before invoking the Insurrection Act and limit any deployment to 14 days unless Congress chooses to extend it, among other things.

Meanwhile, U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Ilhan Omar and Mark Pocan also announced they'll soon introduce legislation to "amend the law to require congressional approval prior to the deployment of U.S. troops."

President Trump's threat to deploy troops to crack down on protests has received criticism from state and military leaders alike. Defense Secretary Mark Esper publicly expressed his opposition to invoking the Act shortly after the president's remarks.

"The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations," Esper said. "We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act."