The Sandinista party has pushed through a law that grants Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega sweeping powers to make arrests and silence news media during a state of emergency. Also Wednesday, the government banned Nicaraguans from receiving any type of official U.S. aid. The new Emergency Law went into effect immediately after it was approved by the leftist Sandinistas' 61-seat majority in the 96-seat National Assembly. It allows the president to declare a state of emergency and restrict civil liberties for reasons of war, economic crisis or national disasters. The opposition Popular Social Christian Party decried the law as "an unrestrained concentration of extraordinary powers."