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Curbing the power of the purse???

augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power? In order to explain what I mean, let me provide some context.

In parliamentary systems, appropriation bills cannot be introduced in the lower House except on the recommendation of the Government; therefore, it's the Executive branch that initiates appropriation and calls for sums. Some presidential systems have adopted this method by restricting the Legislative branch's power to appropriate money.

The most relevant example I can provide is the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (no, I am not a Southerner, and no I don't support the Confederacy). The CSA Constitution, other than the slave clauses, includes additional checks and balances on Government and thus makes it an interesting point of reference for comparison with the USA Constitution. In the CSA Constitution, Congress cannot appropriate money 'except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays unless it be asked and estimated for some one of the heads of departments and submitted to the Congress by the President.' This additional check on the Congress to appropriate money, in my view, changes to relationship between the Executive branches and the Legislative branches. Unlike the USA Constitution, the CSA President doesn't have to go begging to Congress for money; instead it's the other way around: the Congress has to go begging to the President.

I think this additional check would produce the following result: first, it would lead to better fiscal management, because the Executive would be the one estimating the money, which would lead to less pork-barrel spending projects; and second, the President can grant pork-barrel spending projects as an inducement to Congressmen as a trade for supporting national issues that the President generally champions.
Stymie13
Posts: 2,162
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9/9/2016 4:14:50 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power? In order to explain what I mean, let me provide some context.

In parliamentary systems, appropriation bills cannot be introduced in the lower House except on the recommendation of the Government; therefore, it's the Executive branch that initiates appropriation and calls for sums. Some presidential systems have adopted this method by restricting the Legislative branch's power to appropriate money.

The most relevant example I can provide is the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (no, I am not a Southerner, and no I don't support the Confederacy). The CSA Constitution, other than the slave clauses, includes additional checks and balances on Government and thus makes it an interesting point of reference for comparison with the USA Constitution. In the CSA Constitution, Congress cannot appropriate money 'except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays unless it be asked and estimated for some one of the heads of departments and submitted to the Congress by the President.' This additional check on the Congress to appropriate money, in my view, changes to relationship between the Executive branches and the Legislative branches. Unlike the USA Constitution, the CSA President doesn't have to go begging to Congress for money; instead it's the other way around: the Congress has to go begging to the President.

I think this additional check would produce the following result: first, it would lead to better fiscal management, because the Executive would be the one estimating the money, which would lead to less pork-barrel spending projects; and second, the President can grant pork-barrel spending projects as an inducement to Congressmen as a trade for supporting national issues that the President generally champions.

So in essence you believe the president should control the entire budget... Even when you don't support that particular president?
kevin24018
Posts: 1,952
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9/9/2016 6:18:12 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/9/2016 4:14:50 PM, Stymie13 wrote:
At 9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power? In order to explain what I mean, let me provide some context.

In parliamentary systems, appropriation bills cannot be introduced in the lower House except on the recommendation of the Government; therefore, it's the Executive branch that initiates appropriation and calls for sums. Some presidential systems have adopted this method by restricting the Legislative branch's power to appropriate money.

The most relevant example I can provide is the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (no, I am not a Southerner, and no I don't support the Confederacy). The CSA Constitution, other than the slave clauses, includes additional checks and balances on Government and thus makes it an interesting point of reference for comparison with the USA Constitution. In the CSA Constitution, Congress cannot appropriate money 'except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays unless it be asked and estimated for some one of the heads of departments and submitted to the Congress by the President.' This additional check on the Congress to appropriate money, in my view, changes to relationship between the Executive branches and the Legislative branches. Unlike the USA Constitution, the CSA President doesn't have to go begging to Congress for money; instead it's the other way around: the Congress has to go begging to the President.

I think this additional check would produce the following result: first, it would lead to better fiscal management, because the Executive would be the one estimating the money, which would lead to less pork-barrel spending projects; and second, the President can grant pork-barrel spending projects as an inducement to Congressmen as a trade for supporting national issues that the President generally champions.

So in essence you believe the president should control the entire budget... Even when you don't support that particular president?

Don't many "illegal" executive orders not go into affect because they aren't funded? At least not until a court makes a decision on the order. Seems to me that removes a big part of the checks and balances.
NHN
Posts: 624
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9/9/2016 9:06:40 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power?
It's a little something called the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the power to tax and spend. What you're suggesting would be equivalent to shredding the Constitution.

I think this additional check would produce the following result: first, it would lead to better fiscal management, because the Executive would be the one estimating the money, which would lead to less pork-barrel spending projects; and second, the President can grant pork-barrel spending projects as an inducement to Congressmen as a trade for supporting national issues that the President generally champions.
A softer version has been tried before with the line-item veto under Clinton. It was declared unconstitutional (http://www.washingtonpost.com...).

If you take away the power of the purse from Congress/the Legislature, it no longer has any power. Then all you have left is the battle between the Executive and the Supreme Court.
augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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9/10/2016 3:11:15 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/9/2016 4:14:50 PM, Stymie13 wrote:
At 9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power? In order to explain what I mean, let me provide some context.

In parliamentary systems, appropriation bills cannot be introduced in the lower House except on the recommendation of the Government; therefore, it's the Executive branch that initiates appropriation and calls for sums. Some presidential systems have adopted this method by restricting the Legislative branch's power to appropriate money.

The most relevant example I can provide is the Constitution of the Confederate States of America (no, I am not a Southerner, and no I don't support the Confederacy). The CSA Constitution, other than the slave clauses, includes additional checks and balances on Government and thus makes it an interesting point of reference for comparison with the USA Constitution. In the CSA Constitution, Congress cannot appropriate money 'except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays unless it be asked and estimated for some one of the heads of departments and submitted to the Congress by the President.' This additional check on the Congress to appropriate money, in my view, changes to relationship between the Executive branches and the Legislative branches. Unlike the USA Constitution, the CSA President doesn't have to go begging to Congress for money; instead it's the other way around: the Congress has to go begging to the President.

I think this additional check would produce the following result: first, it would lead to better fiscal management, because the Executive would be the one estimating the money, which would lead to less pork-barrel spending projects; and second, the President can grant pork-barrel spending projects as an inducement to Congressmen as a trade for supporting national issues that the President generally champions.

So in essence you believe the president should control the entire budget... Even when you don't support that particular president?

The President doesn't control the entire the budget. He/she suggests estimates, which can then be amended/approved by Congress. The whole point is that the 'initiation' of the budget is with the President, and that the estimates are based on calculations made by the Executive branch, which is best branch of government to determine the pecuniary wants of the nation.

Also, you're argument could apply for the Congress: what if you don't support the party that controls one or both Houses? Should they have control over the budget?
augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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9/10/2016 3:30:41 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/9/2016 9:06:40 PM, NHN wrote:
At 9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power?
It's a little something called the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the power to tax and spend. What you're suggesting would be equivalent to shredding the Constitution.

I think this additional check would produce the following result: first, it would lead to better fiscal management, because the Executive would be the one estimating the money, which would lead to less pork-barrel spending projects; and second, the President can grant pork-barrel spending projects as an inducement to Congressmen as a trade for supporting national issues that the President generally champions.
A softer version has been tried before with the line-item veto under Clinton. It was declared unconstitutional (http://www.washingtonpost.com...).

If you take away the power of the purse from Congress/the Legislature, it no longer has any power. Then all you have left is the battle between the Executive and the Supreme Court.

The line-item veto is a completely different thing, although it is related. Also, just to clarify, the Legislature still can amend the Bill and must approve it in order that it become law; it just can't initiate the appropriations, except by a two-thirds majority of both Houses. The point is that the Legislature has too much power in determining where the money goes. Besides, you make it sound as if the only laws that the Legislature passes are appropriation bills, when clearly this is not true.

In fact, the State of California also currently has this rule, although it's not worded the same. No one would claim that the Legislature of California has been made moot by this extra check. Also, State Governors have more control over budgets than the President, primarily because they've been able to amend their Constitutions to include such checks and balances.
augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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9/10/2016 3:33:49 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/9/2016 9:06:40 PM, NHN wrote:
At 9/9/2016 3:34:12 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
As Americans know, Congress has the power 'of the purse' in that they have the sole power to appropriate money; but should they have this power?
It's a little something called the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the power to tax and spend. What you're suggesting would be equivalent to shredding the Constitution.

Ok. First of all, the Constitution didn't just fall from the sky, it was the product of human creation. Second, the implication that improving the Constitution is akin to shredding up is completely ludicrous and such arguments only benefit the establishment, who use that exact same argument in order to perpetuate the same old political games.

As mentioned above, the State of California has the two-thirds appropriation requirement; and they still have a Constitution, the last time I checked.
NHN
Posts: 624
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9/10/2016 3:57:46 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/10/2016 3:33:49 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
Ok. First of all, the Constitution didn't just fall from the sky, it was the product of human creation.
No sh*t, Sherlock.

As mentioned above, the State of California has the two-thirds appropriation requirement; and they still have a Constitution, the last time I checked.
You do understand the difference between federal and state law, right? The U.S. Constitution is a founding document built on principles far exceeding the basic social contract of any state constitution.

Regardless, you didn't address the core issue. Your proposal would spell the end of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judicial branches of government.

The line-item veto, which was similar insofar as it granted the Executive the right to override Congress's power of the purse, was deemed unconstitutional almost 20 years ago.
augcaesarustus
Posts: 368
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9/11/2016 3:27:11 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/10/2016 3:57:46 PM, NHN wrote:
At 9/10/2016 3:33:49 PM, augcaesarustus wrote:
Ok. First of all, the Constitution didn't just fall from the sky, it was the product of human creation.
No sh*t, Sherlock.

As mentioned above, the State of California has the two-thirds appropriation requirement; and they still have a Constitution, the last time I checked.
You do understand the difference between federal and state law, right? The U.S. Constitution is a founding document built on principles far exceeding the basic social contract of any state constitution.

This has nothing to do with the enumerated powers granted to the Union by the Constitution; that is a separate issue. That the process of appropriating money is commenced by the President doesn't change or alter any compact between the Union and the States.

Regardless, you didn't address the core issue. Your proposal would spell the end of the separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judicial branches of government.

No, it wouldn't because as I mentioned before, the Legislature would still need to approve the estimates and also has the power to amend the bill.

The line-item veto, which was similar insofar as it granted the Executive the right to override Congress's power of the purse, was deemed unconstitutional almost 20 years ago.

The line-item veto was deemed unconstitutional because it's not explicitly stated in the Constitution, which comes to my final point. If both of these features had been included originally in the Constitution in an alternative history, and I was arguing for reform, you'd still be arguing in favour of the status quo and passionately believe that the system as it stands maintains a separation of powers. The point is that your argument is solely based on the premise that 'because it's in the Constitution, it therefore must be right....'