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Rewriting the Constitution (UPDATED)
Posted by: mcq on Tuesday, January 09, 2007

After all the bellyaching about the Bush cabal violating, if not the letter, at least the spirit of the Constitution, Ted Kennedy attempts to rewrite both the letter and spirit of the document. From his HuffPo post:
Today, I introduced legislation to reclaim the people's right to a full voice in the president's plan to send more troops to Iraq. My bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation unless and until Congress approves the president's plan.
The caterwalling of a frustrated Commander-in-Chief whose only command would be, of course, "get out of Dodge and get out now". Of course this isn't going to fly, but it is instructive. Oh, and fairly laughable, given his announcement about the introduction of his bill, was this line:
Never before has our system of checks and balances been so important.
*sigh*

When it comes to Teddy Kennedy, you can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE: Full text of Kennedy's speech today.

TPM Muckraker has the relevant portion of Kennedy's bill:
Prohibition.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funds may be obligated or expended by the United States government to increase the number of United States forces in Iraq above the number for such forces which existed as of January 9, 2007, without a specific authorization from Congress by law for such an increase.
Excellent post at TalkLeft going into detail as to why Kennedy's bill would never fly Constitutionally. (HT: Libby Spencer)
 
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Comments
McQ - Are you saying that Congress can’t make spending decisions like this?
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
big deal, so congress passes the bill. is kennedy figuring Bush will sign it? if not, is kennedy figuring he has the the votes to override Bush’s veto? if not, then this is nothing more than kennedy looking to score some points with the crazies on the left.

for all of kennedy’s and pelosi’s talk about how they’re going to do this and that, let’s not assume that the GOP Senators will roll over and not delay and filibuster. OK, my bad, it’s a given that they’ll roll over. But let’s not assume that Bush will roll over and not veto. OK, my bad, there’s little chance that Bush will stand up to Congress.

So... maybe there’s more to fear from kennedy’s bill and pelosi’s wish list than I had originally thought.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: www.thoughtsonline.blogspot.com
Kennedy? Where is Sarah Chayes and NPR? Her dad helped him start Peace Corps and Green Berets.

Plame is suing about her book and the CIA review board as they announced using CIA operations officers in Africa. They are now over at DOD and the funds for those are tied to DOD or CIA?
 
Written By: Te
URL: http://
Are you saying that Congress can’t make spending decisions like this?

That’s not what he’s saying ...

"...until Congress approves the president’s plan."

He’s claiming that the President has to submit and get his plan approved by Congress (obviously also claiming they have the right to "disapprove" it) before any spending decision will be made ... not the job of Congress.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
big deal, so congress passes the bill. is kennedy figuring Bush will sign it?
Well they’re not going to pass it which is why I said " Of course this isn’t going to fly, but it is instructive."

Come on people ... focus.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
The decision not to escalate is about the scope of the war, not the conduct of troops on the ground. For constitutional purposes, that makes all the difference. Congress can say they won’t fund escalate; they can’t condition funding on particular troop movements or battlefield strategies.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
Congress can do anything it can get away with, much like the President. These are not questions that the federal judiciary is going to want to get involved with.

Like most of what happens in DC, this is posturing. But unlike most posturing, which is just useless self-aggrandizement, this posturing seems to be intended to be a sharp check on the power of the President.

So let’s say that a DOD supplemental spending bill is in conference, and the conferees report out that they will not approve the bill until the SecDef testifies to a Congressional committee. Given the President’s current popularity numbers, Bush is not going to be able to embarrass the Congress into approving the bill.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Congress can say they won’t fund escalate; they can’t condition funding on particular troop movements or battlefield strategies.
Right.

Congress can say they won’t fund whatever they choose not to fund, however they are not within their power to demand approval rights on a military plan or how and when soldier’s are deployed. That is what Kennedy is demanding.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Given the President’s current popularity numbers, Bush is not going to be able to embarrass the Congress into approving the bill.
No, but he can go ahead and send the troops and then embarrass the Congress into approving the bill and there is nothing Congress can do, Constitutionally, to stop him.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Isn’t this precisely what the system of checks and balances is for? And shouldn’t the president justify his funding requests under that system, the way it was intended to work? How else is Congress to make the decision?

I think you’re misreading the intent of his words McQ. I don’t think he’s asking for battle plans, Ted is asking for a explanation about why our president thinks this will work in the face of overwhelming disagreement, even among the military. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
 
Written By: Libby Spencer
URL: http://lastonespeaks.blogspot.com
My apologies McQ. It appears you’re right after all. Talk Left makes a good argument for your view.
 
Written By: Libby Spencer
URL: http://lastonespeaks.blogspot.com
Appreciate the link, Libby ... I’ve included it in the update.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
You’re welcome. Thanks for the h/t McQ.

Libby - The Impolitic
 
Written By: Libby Spencer
URL: http://lastonespeaks.blogspot.com
Congress can say they won’t fund whatever they choose not to fund, however they are not within their power to demand approval rights on a military plan or how and when soldier’s are deployed. That is what Kennedy is demanding.
Congress can cut off funding for any reason it likes, period. The Constitution does not stipulate for what reasons the Congress shall approve or deny funding, simply that it has the power to do so.

Congress can demand approval rights but has no Constitutional means to enforce that demand other than cutting off funding. That’s how the system works and as much as I dislike Ted Kennedy he has done nothing even mildly un-Constitutional in this instance.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://

 
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