Will Bush Respect The Purse?

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The issue of whether Congress has the power to use the purse to direct Bush’s handling of the war is pretty much settled: it does, and it has, several times in the past, as the Center for American Progress demonstrates here.

The question becomes, will Bush respect the limits Congress sets? Or will he push to escalate a war that the Congress and the American people don’t want, and setting up a constitutional crisis?

The Bush White House, after all, has often claimed unprecedented executive power. This issue is no exception. “Until the Bush admininistration, no president had ever argued in writing to the Supreme Court that a statutory restriction on his war powers was unconstitutional,” Georgetown Law Professor Marty Lederman told me (he expounded further on this question here and here).

“All of our understandings and practices are based on a White House that’s more compromising and accommodating than some people feel this White House will be,” Scott Lilly, a former House Appropriations staffer, told me. So what happens if Congress makes its move and Bush ignores it? Good question.