In a statement released from the White House yesterday, President Obama commended the government of Algeria “for taking an important step forward today by formally lifting the State of Emergency that has been in place in Algeria for 19 years.”
That's great — so how about formally lifting the State of Emergency that the United States has been under for about half as long? On September 14, 2001, President George W. Bush put us under a National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks. President Obama most recently renewed this emergency declaration on September 10, 2010. It is the source of legal authority for the military's “stop-loss” policy, among other things. Perhaps it's not on par with Algerian martial law, but these declarations do grant extraordinary powers to the president, and allow the president himself to renew those powers.
The USA is under multiple states of emergency at any given time. These potentially give the President emergency powers ranging from controlling industrial production to preventing military personnel from leaving service. Once an emergency is declared, it must be renewed every year. Here are a few that the U.S. currently has active:
- National Emergency with Respect to Lebanon declared on August 1, 2007 and most recently renewed July 29, 2010.
National Emergency Regarding Export Control Regulations declared on August 17, 2001 and most recently renewed on August 13, 2010.
National Emergency with Respect to Belarus declared on June 16, 2006 and most recently renewed on June 8, 2010.
National Emergency with Respect to Syria declared on May 11, 2004 and most recently renewed on May 3, 2010.
National Emergency with Respect to Burma declared on May 20, 1997 and most recently renewed on May 14, 2010.
National Emergency with Respect to Zimbabwe declared on November 22, 2005 and most recently renewed on March 1, 2010.