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What Does "National Emergency" Actually Mean?

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NPR

President Trump wants $8 billion to build a wall on the southern border of the U.S. Congress refused to give it to him. So he declared a national emergency, in the hope that he can use his extraordinary powers to secure funding from other parts of the government.

A "national emergency" sounds like an extraordinary thing, but it turns out, it's really not. Liza Goitein is a co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at NYU law school's Brennan Center for Justice. She recently wrote an article for The Atlantic on national emergencies, and pointed out the U.S. was already in 31 formal national emergencies right now. Thirty-one! So we called her up and asked her to help us understand what a national emergency is.

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Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.
Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money podcast, along with Stacey Vanek Smith. He joined NPR in November 2017.