We are nearing the end of President Trump’s first week in office. But who has challenged his brash claims that he will build a $11 billion (or much costlier) wall, charge the cost initially to US Taxpayers, and later supposedly extract the cost from Mexico by coercion? Why not a word from Congress?
Why has no one cited the rights, duties, and limits placed on a President by the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Can Donald Tweeter Trump order a “wall” be built, appropriate taxpayer funds and then alter old treaties with Mexico to force its citizens to pay for his idea? Of course not!
Can President Trump change treaties with Mexico that a previous Congress put in place to intimidate Mexico in order to pay for a project they did not build? Of course not, at least not peacefully! Are we to invade and occupy Mexico?
Read the Constitution for yourself and then ask, where is our Congress and Supreme Court while all this loose talk is being tweeted from the White House? What are they afraid of?
And also read the US Constitution’s “Appropriations Clause”:
Section 7. 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.
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law.
One of many legal interpreters is Kate Stith, the Lafayette S. Foster Professor of Law at Yale Law School, who writes:
“The Constitution places the power of the purse in Congress: ‘No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . .’ In specifying the activities on which public funds may be spent, Congress defines the contours of federal power. This requirement of legislative appropriation before public funds are spent is at the foundation of our constitutional order.”
Stith goes on: “The Appropriations Clause is not technically a grant of legislative power, because pursuant to the Necessary and Proper Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1), Congress clearly has the power to specify the objects, amounts, and timing of federal spending—even if there were no Appropriations Clause. If Congress could not limit the Executive’s withdrawing of funds from the Treasury, then the constitutional grants of power to Congress to raise taxes (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) and to borrow money (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2) would be for naught because the Executive could effectively compel taxing and borrowing by spending at will. Rather, the Appropriations Clause creates a legislative duty that Congress exercise control and assume responsibility over the federal fisc. Congress’s ‘power of the purse’ is at the foundation of our Constitution’s separation of powers, a constitutionally mandated check on Executive power. “
The Constitution also specifies procedures and grounds for impeaching Presidents who do not observe it. President Bill Clinton came close, maybe Donald Trump should read it, too! The uprising that put Trump in office is very much alive, and when the wounded US economy fails to revive, it will turn on Trump.
Editor Charles E Carlson