Not content with stripping the Treasury only to hand it to his pals as corporate welfare, Bush has now stolen Congress' power of the purse. According to Bruce Fein, deputy AG to Reagan, in the Washington Times today:
Jan. 28, 2008, is a date that will live in congressional infamy. Congress surrendered the power of the purse over national security affairs to the White House.Welcome to the Sixteeth Century, folks.
President Bush appended a signing statement to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 denying the power of Congress to withhold funds for establishing permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, or to control its oil resources. The statement tacitly averred that Congress was required to appropriate money to support every presidential national security gambit, for example, launching pre-emptive wars anywhere on the planet or breaking and entering homes to gather foreign intelligence.
....The National Defense Authorization Act's restrictions on President Bush in Iraq were no novelty. Congress has repeatedly legislated to constrain the president's projection of the military abroad or has otherwise overridden his national security policies.
...Yet Congress acquiesced. It did not pass a resolution disputing Mr. Bush. It did not threaten impeachment. It meekly surrendered its national security relevance. Under the precedent it left undisturbed, the president could flout congressional prohibitions on spending funds to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, to invade North Korea, to conduct military offensives in Iraq, to install an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, or to assist Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
A combination of congressional inertness and imbecility has crippled the power of the purse to check executive abuses and craving for perpetual war. Mr. Bush is now crowned with more power than the Stuart kings.