International Emergency Economic Powers Act 91 Stat. 1625 (1977)

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This act grants the President limited economic powers "to deal with any unusual and extraordinary threat … to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States" which arises "in whole or substantial part outside the United States" and which is declared by the President to constitute "a national emergency." The primary purpose of the act, however, was to restrict the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1917, under which the President had come to enjoy large discretionary power during times of declared emergency.

The 1977 act limits the authority created by declaration of a national emergency to an instant threat only and removes the President's authority to exercise during peacetime certain economic powers available in time of war. It also obligates the President to "consult" with Congress, if possible, prior to the declaration of a national emergency, to report on the circumstances said to necessitate the extraordinary measures, and to report to Congress every six months on the exercise of powers under the act.

Although the act permits the termination of a declared national emergency by concurrent resolution of Congress, the decision in immigration and naturalization service v. chadha (1983), declaring the use of the legislative veto unconstitutional, places this restraint in doubt. In sum, however much Congress may have intended to restrict presidential emergency powers over international economic transactions, the actual extent of the change is uncertain.

Burns H. Weston

(see also: Dames & Moore v. Regan; Foreign Affairs; War Powers; War Powers Acts.)


Henkin, Louis 1972 Foreign Affairs and the Constitution. Pages 118–123. Mineola, N.Y.: Foundation Press.

Note 1978 Presidential Emergency Powers Related to International Economic Transactions: Congressional Recognition of Customary Authority. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 11:515–534.

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International Emergency Economic Powers Act 91 Stat. 1625 (1977)

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International Emergency Economic Powers Act 91 Stat. 1625 (1977)