#1 Sen. Lee: Congress Chooses Not to Exercise Its Own ‘Power of the Purse’ by Eglman 05.02.2014 17:00


(CNSNews.com) – Although Congress still has the “power of the purse,” it chooses not to withhold funding whenever President Obama tries to do an end-run around it by issuing executive orders because members of both parties are content with passing all-or-nothing spending bills that take this constitutional option off the table, says Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

CNSNews.com asked Lee why Congress has not used its constitutional authority to rein-in such presidential overreach.

“Yeah, Congress has not done that, and it’s a source of great frustration to me," the Utah Republican replied. "A lot of it has to do with the fact that Congress has gotten into this very pernicious pattern in which it considers spending legislation on an all-or-nothing basis.

“We get up right to the end of a particular funding period - and I sometimes call this ‘government by cliff’ – we run up against a deadline and then Congress brings forward either a continuing resolution or an omnibus spending measure, and members of Congress receive the text of the spending bill or the continuing resolution, you know, just hours or at most a couple of days before they have to vote on it,” he explained.

“And they’re told, you either vote to fund everything in this bill or vote to fund nothing in this bill. Keep government funded entirely or bring about a government shutdown.

“Now, I think this kind of spending bill is dangerous. I think this is what’s contributing substantially to our trillion-dollar deficits and to our $17 trillion debt is that members of Congress, when presented with that option, end up just, you know, just voting to fund everything,” he added.

“But this is not how Congress is supposed to work. Members of Congress are supposed to have many options before them, and they’re supposed to have an open debate and discussion when they consider legislation.

“And it’s a real injustice to the American people that too many members of Congress in both houses and in both political parties, quite frankly, are content with this kind of practice. It’s got to stop,” Lee told CNSNews.com.

“But this is what prevents Congress from standing up for its own institutional prerogatives. If we didn’t operate this way, I think there would be a much greater chance that Congress would withhold funding for the president to implement many of these executive orders.”


- See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-...j.0zLtrlMH.dpuf

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