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Explanation of Constitutional Clause

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2/5/2016 1:18:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Hi all,

I am wanting to seek your interpretation concerning a clause in the Confederate Constitution of 1861 (Article I, Section 9, Clause 9) which states:

"Congress shall appropriate no money from the Treasury except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, unless they be asked and estimated for by some one of the heads of Departments and submitted to Congress by the President...." Please also bear in mind that the President is also empowered with line-item veto.

What does this paragraph actually mean? How would this work in actual practice? I have three interpretations:

1) The President submits his/her own appropriations to Congress for its consideration. Congress may not amend the appropriations or alter any dollar items, but has the power to either reject or approve any or all of the appropriations. Any amendment to the appropriations requires a two-thirds majority of both Houses.

2) The President presents his/her proposal for appropriations, which Congress can freely amend or alter the dollar items thereof (without the two-thirds majority). The President can then uses the power to veto line-items (as the case may be).

3) The President presents a general estimation of monies, for which Congress then determines the more specific details of appropriation. In such case, Congress cannot appropriate money that exceeds the estimates except by a two-thirds vote. The President then has power to either veto or approve those specific appropriations.

Please share your opinions. I am curious as to what to think this clause actually means. I have tried to look for some equivalent of the 'Federalist Papers' for the Confederate Constitution but haven't really found anything that explains in specific detail what this clause actually means.