Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Democrats move to defund Cheney

I thought Rep. Rahm Emmanuel was just engaging in political rhetoric when he suggested cutting off money for the Office of the Vice President because Dick Cheney had declared that the office wasn't part of the executive branch. His amendment to do so was handily defeated.

But over in the Senate, Democrats apparently took him seriously.

A Senate appropriations panel chaired by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., refused to fund $4.8 million in the vice president's budget until Cheney's office complies with parts of an executive order governing its handling of classified information.

While amusing, this is wrong on several levels.

First, Congress really has no business trying to force an executive agency to follow an executive order -- which, after all, is an order issued at the sole discretion of the president, to be enforced if and as he sees fit (or, as in this case, to be ignored, by pretending the plain language in the EO doesn't include the White House or vice president, even though it clearly does). Congress can use its investigative authority to embarrass the administration, but has no power to compel action. And it shouldn't use its funding powers in an attempt to get around that.

Second, the vice presidency is a Constitutional office, not a statutory one. While that does not entitle Cheney to whatever funding he wants, Congress has an obligation to provide sufficient funding for such an office to do its job.

Third, it's a waste of time.

The Democrats get points for style, but this is bad policy. Put the funding back in.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. The Dems are wasting a LOT of time lately on unimportant things and partisan, political bickering. But I guess that's what they want to be known for.

JP5

7/10/2007 10:34 PM  

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