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Expand chart
Data: Brennan Center for Justice; Note: The chart reflects primary emergency declarations, not those amending existing emergencies; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Chris Canipe/Axios

President Trump's decision Friday to declare a national emergency is the latest in a series of emergencies that are used for international crises or urgent domestic dangers.

Why it matters: Most experts agree that Trump's use of a national emergency is a legally questionable use of emergency powers. The Brennan Center for Justice has found 123 emergency powers the president can invoke. There are one or two powers that Trump could use that are related to military construction.

  • Those emergency construction powers have only been used twice: by George H.W. Bush during the Gulf War and then by George W. Bush after 9/11. Those orders aren't listed in the graphic because they were just amendments to earlier emergency declarations.

The backstory: Over the past 40 years, the National Emergencies Act has become a common tool for U.S. presidents to quickly enact foreign sanctions, especially when their views conflict with Congress. Of the 58 national emergencies in the data, 44 have been foreign sanctions.

Some examples:

Other uses of emergency powers:

  • In response to clashes between U.S. and Cuban vessels, Clinton invoked a power allowing the Transportation Department to better regulate the movement and inspection of ships.
  • During the H1N1 virus outbreak in 2009, Obama allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to modify or waive some Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP requirements to implement emergency plans.
  • To stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Clinton empowered the Commerce Department to control any exports that could aid countries in producing those weapons.

Go deeper: What's next on the wall showdown

Go deeper

14 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

16 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.