President TrumpDonald TrumpPredictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure A review of President Biden's first year on border policy Hannity after Jan. 6 texted McEnany 'no more stolen election talk' in five-point plan for Trump MORE's claim that he has "total" authority to decide when and how to reopen parts of the country shuttered by the coronavirus is sparking congressional backlash, including from members of his own party.
Trump, speaking during a White House press briefing Monday, said he has the "authority" to force governors, who have been issuing the stay-at-home orders, to reopen schools, businesses and other institutions in their states.
But GOP lawmakers, as well as Democrats, fired back Tuesday, sending a warning shot to Trump that under the Constitution he does not have unlimited powers. They also warned against overreaching.
"The constitution doesn’t allow the federal gov’t to become the ultimate regulator of our lives because they wave a doctor’s note," Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulI'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN Trump slams Biden, voices unsubstantiated election fraud claims at first rally of 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) tweeted Tuesday.
"Powers not delegated are RESERVED to states & the PEOPLE. If we dispense with constitutional restraints, we will have more to worry about than a virus," added Paul, who has also been critical of governors he views as going too far during the pandemic.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine I'm furious about Democrats taking the blame — it's time to fight back The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE (R-Fla.) said that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House would be providing guidelines, the Constitution and "common sense" dictate that decisions about when to reopen shuttered parts of the country are made at the state level.
"It's going to be the governors that are going to make decisions about when certain activities are allowed. ... That is the appropriate place where I think some of these orders will begin to be modified," Rubio said, adding that the federal guidance would be "influential."
Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Supreme Court rejects Trump's bid to shield records from Jan. 6 committee MORE (R-Wyo.) didn't directly mention Trump but tweeted Monday night that "the federal government does not have absolute power."
Republicans were joined by Democrats, and some governors, as well as Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashDemocrats defend Afghan withdrawal amid Taliban advance Vietnam shadow hangs over Biden decision on Afghanistan Kamala Harris and our shameless politics MORE (I-Mich.), who left the Republican Party last year.
Amash and Democratic Reps. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiMomentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks Jan. 6 brings Democrats, Cheneys together — with GOP mostly absent In their own words: Lawmakers, staffers remember Jan. 6 insurrection MORE (N.J.) and Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsLawmakers coming under increased threats — sometimes from one another Jan. 6 brings Democrats, Cheneys together — with GOP mostly absent In their own words: Lawmakers, staffers remember Jan. 6 insurrection MORE (Minn.) unveiled a one-page resolution on Tuesday that states "when someone is the president of the United States, their authority is not total."
"State governments are not local branches of the federal government; they have different powers and functions. Putting one government in charge of everything does not strengthen our system; it weakens our system and makes everyone more vulnerable to serious errors," Amash added in a tweet.
When, and how, to reopen shuttered parts of the country has emerged as a key point of debate within the government.
Trump has appeared eager to reopen the country sooner rather than later as the coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy months before the 2020 election.
He's expected to announce a panel on Tuesday that will be tasked with determining the criteria for lifting coronavirus restrictions.
Governors of six northeast states announced on Monday they were forming a group to create joint recommendations on how to reopen their economies.
Democratic senators are planning to introduce legislation to create a 10- to 15-member panel that would be responsible for coming up and implementing a plan to reopen closed parts of the country.
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyBiden huddles with group of senators on Ukraine-Russia tensions Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation Senators to meet with Ukraine president to reaffirm US support MORE (D-Conn.), one of the senators backing the bill, said it should be up to governors and mayors, in consultation with the White House, to make the decisions about reopening the country.
"It is not true that the president has the complete and unchecked authority to override a state decision," Murphy said in a conference call. "Right now this president appears to have gone somewhat off the rails, I don't want him in charge of whether kids in my state go back to school."
Updated at 2:26 p.m.