Balkinization  

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Vetoing What is Necessary

Marty Lederman

The President this evening:
We need to give our troops all the equipment and the training and protection they need to prevail. . . . The need to act is urgent. Without a war funding bill, the military has to take money from some other account or training program so the troops in combat have what they need. Without a war funding bill, the Armed Forces will have to consider cutting back on buying new equipment or repairing existing equipment. Without a war funding bill, we add to the uncertainty felt by our military families. Our troops and their families deserve better -- and their elected leaders can do better. . . . . [S]urely we can agree that our troops are worthy of this funding -- and that we have a responsibility to get it to them without further delay.

And therefore, I have just now vetoed the bill that would provide the troops all of that urgently needed funding and support . . . .

As one elected official was overheard saying, "Our troops and their families deserve better -- and their elected leaders can do better."

So far, no hint of any constitutional objection. But stay tuned . . .

Comments:

The Dems claim that they have a mandate to end the war. Congress has the power of the purse. Therefore, if they are being honest, their course is clear - defund the war.

Their current course is a lie.
 

We were and are trying to work with many, many disingenuous people like yourself, Bart, who claim one day we risk constitutional catastrophe and terror attacks by crimping the Decider's style, the next that we aren't being honest when we try to take your complaints into account and don't just pull the plug on Iraq. It's not easy!
 

Regardless of what the Dems claim, _Congress_ passed a Bill which stated their exact _collective and democratic_ decision. Everyone seems to agree that if the president had signed the bill, it would be law. Besides the power of the purse, Congress has the power of many shades of gray, and lots of primary and not so primary colors of what, when, where, who and how of this purse and its contents. Thank goodness that our honest legislators can understand more than a light switch, because our one bit president is stuck in the 0 position. (A zero is an never-ending, continuously repeating and never advancing symbol.)

I don't think Bart is disingenuous, just very much in the same mold as our glorious leader.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Congress has the power of the purse. Therefore, if they are being honest, their course is clear - defund the war.

Their current course is a lie.


No. What "Bart" said about their "current course" is a lie. Assuming arguendo that Congress does have the "power of the purse" (which no rational person disagrees with) does not mean that Congress's power is limited to only the "power of the purse". In fact, a short read by someone with at least a junior high education level of Article I of the Constitution should show that the power of Congress extends to far more than the "power of the purse". Which makes "Bart"'s 'argument' here nonsense, and his accusation of dishonesty itself a lie.

Cheers,
 

I think that Bart's argument is that the power of the purse stops once the purse is opened; i.e., that once money reaches the executive's hands they have the discretion what to do with it.

Thus Bart would have supported Iran-Contra, as even though what happened was against the written law, the Executive has the authority to move money where it feels necessary.

However, this counters the Presidential requirement to uphold the Constitution and execute the law.

If the Congress passes a law, the President is supposed to execute it. Not ignore it, not work around it, not decide against it via signing statement. Yes, he can veto it, but isn't that supposed to be for constitutional reasons, not political ones, or to throw a tantrum?

Congress did defund the war, with a timetable. Bush refused their funding, so he wishes to end the war sooner, as without funding, he can only withdraw the troops, or leave them without support. His decision, not Congress'.
 

L.S.,

The President's veto power is one of a few examples where the otherwise strict separation of powers is not applied. The president can veto any bill that he does not "approve" of.
 

Fraud Guy:

I think that Bart's argument is that the power of the purse stops once the purse is opened; i.e., that once money reaches the executive's hands they have the discretion what to do with it.

I can't speak for "Bart"'s 'logic', to be honest, so maybe he'll weigh in. I don't think you reflect it correctly here (if such is indeed possible). My claim is that Congress has more than the power of the purse, but "Bart"'s claim seems to be that Congress has only the option of "defunding" the Iraq war. I don't doubt that Congress has the power to "defund" in the sense of refusing to pass any further appropriations (and I think that "Bart" would maintain the same). No one is suggesting that Congress reach back and remove appropriations already passed (and pretty much spent).

Thus Bart would have supported Iran-Contra, as even though what happened was against the written law, the Executive has the authority to move money where it feels necessary.

Reassigning (a euphemism for misappropriating) funds already allocated is a different ball of wax. To my mind, if Congress says that money shall be used for "X" and the preznit uses it for "Y" (rather than unspecified projects "X.1", "X.2", etc., possibly in contravention of Congress's desires or intent), that would be illegal.

Cheers,
 

Marty: "So far, no hint of any constitutional objection. But stay tuned . . ."

We didn't have to stay tuned for very long. From the President's veto message to Congress:

Finally, this legislation is unconstitutional because it purports to direct the conduct of the operations of the war in a way that infringes upon the powers vested in the Presidency by the Constitution, including as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
 

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