Thursday, February 17, 2011
If it is constitutionally permissible to cut off the funding for Barack Obama's teleprompter (as Arkansas Republican Steve Womack proposed), why can't the Congress also cut off funding for the White House press room equipment, its internet access, and its non-essential computers and smart phones? Not saying I would be in favor of that, but why stop with the teleprompter?
Great point TH...
How about finally ending the funding for a former President's Office?
They can be worth Millions these days, no need for the Nation to fund their personal Office for the rest of their lives. It was a quaint tip of the hat long ago, now it is just wasteful icing on a cake - when we need to tighten the budgets asap.
Remember when Bill Clinton wanted the most expensive Office in Manhattan?
Speaking of the Clintons, did you see this one?
"HILLARY CLINTON WATCHES AS POLICE MANHANDLE PEACEFUL PROTESTER
George Washington University, Washington D.C., February 15, 2011.
Just minutes after Secretary Clinton began a speech lauding freedom of the internet, two security personnel forcefully removed an audience member wearing a Veterans For Peace t-shirt who had silently stood and turned his back to her. Ray McGovern, a 71-year old veteran, and former CIA analyst was violently grabbed and forcibly removed from the auditorium in direct view of Mrs. Clinton. According to Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “For this peaceful expression of dissent, he ended up bruised, bloodied, arrested, and jailed. Secretary Clinton never paused, continuing her speech lecturing other countries about the need to allow freedom of expression and dissent, while Mr. McGovern was hauled out in front of her."
Defunding the teleprompter seems a bit extreme. Why not just stipulate that the operator that prepares the prompter and inputs the text, be a staff member from Speaker Boehner's office?
Seriously, interesting constitutional question. Control of Pursestrings, meet Separation of Powers.
A number of the spending cuts under debate involve detailed staffing assignments in the Executive Branch, such as whether the Executive Branch should be barred from paying the salaries of staffers working in particular duties, say enforcing particular aspects of Dodd Franks.
Where is the line drawn between what Executive expenditures Congress can control and those they cannot? It seems the precedent has been set that Congress can restrict funds for particular Executive Branch expenses.
The Congress could virtually impoverish the Presidency. But that would have little purpose.
The President is Commander-In-Chief of the military. So he could use soldiers as servants, military transport for travel, etc.
And Presidents have long used military officers as aides, I suppose they coordinate WH interactions with the Pentagon.
Limiting the costs of former Presidents is another matter. I think they should get only protection. No free travel, offices, or staff. Nada.