Can we furlough Harry Reid?

From Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion:

Harry Reid and the Constitution: the power of the purse
Posted by | Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 5:15pm

Constitution Here’s what Harry Reid said yesterday in answer to a question from CNN’s Dana Bash:

What right did [the House of Representatives] have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this Obamacare thing. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.

You might be tempted to give Reid the simple and obvious answer: look it up here. It’s the sort of thing every kid used to have to learn in civics class (not sure what children learn now, or if they even have civics class any more). First there’s Article I, section 7, clause 1: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.” It’s followed by Section 7 Clause 9: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law…”

So Congress was given what is commonly known as the power of the purse, and at the Constitutional Convention it was decided that the House of Representatives should hold more of that power than the Senate because the House “was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings.”

More at the link.

Of course, the Distinguished Gentleman from Nevada knows full well what right the Congress has to pick and choose what will and will not be funded:

Reid Backs Iraq War-Funds Cutoff
By Shailagh Murray | Washington Post Staff Writer | Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid yesterday endorsed the Senate’s toughest antiwar bill yet, a bid to cut off funding within a year, sending a clear signal to President Bush that the Iraq debate will continue in Congress regardless of whether he carries through on his veto threats.

Reid (Nev.) announced that he had teamed up with Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.), one of the Democrats’ strongest war critics, on legislation to set a deadline of March 31, 2008, for completing the withdrawal of combat forces and ending most military spending in Iraq.

Reid’s decision came as House and Senate Democrats were just starting to deliberate a compromise war spending bill. The package is likely to include language at least calling for troop withdrawals to begin, but the Feingold plan would go much further, essentially giving Bush a year to end most U.S. military activities before the money dries up.

More at the link. But it’s apparently quite acceptable to the Senate Majority Leader for the Congress to “pick and choose” what parts of the government is going to be funded . . . as long as it is the Democrats who are doing the picking and choosing.

Oh, wait, I’m sorry; I was writing as though a Democrat being a hypocrite was actually news. What ever was I thinking?


  1. We can all thank Benjamin Franklin for the requirement that revenue bills originate in the House of Representatives. During the Constitutional Convention when the deadlock between large and small states was resolved by the Great Compromise which allowed for a bicameral legislature with proportional representation based on population in the House, and equal representation for the states in the Senate, it was Franklin who wisely introduced the provision the people’s representatives would hold the purse strings.

  2. I wonder what would happen if our entitlements had to be appropriated every year?

    That’s the biggest problem with government spending: so much of it was “appropriated” not on a yearly basis, by Congress, but in the once-through entitlement creation. If Obaminablecare survives — and, sadly, I think it will — it will have yet another entitlement, a government subsidy for those who fall below four times the official poverty line, to help them buy health insurance. That’s more spending, completely out of control.

  3. Put the Budget up for a National Referendum every year.

    That could be even worse! The poorest 51% will just vote themselves all the money of the richest 49%.

  4. It really is serious! Patterico commenter rtrski noted:

    Guys and gals, we have a serious problem here. Day 4 of the slowdown, and I’ve been charting the sunrises, and, brace yourselves…

    …the sun’s been coming up later each day.

    I’m SERIOUS, this is bad! The world will freeze without the sun! Please, PLEASEE call your congressmen and tell them they need to capitulate! We’re sorry Emporer O, please don’t take the sun awaaaaaayyyy!!!!

    I had not realized just how serious things were!

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