Thursday, December 20, 2012

Constitution, Budgets and Fiscal Cliff

According to Article I Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution:

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.

The constitution is very specific about this. The bills for raising revenue do NOT originate in the executive branch (the President, the Treasury Department, etc.). The executive branch may propose a budget but the actual bill raising revenues must originate in the House of Representatives.

The Senate has the power not to pass the bill proposed by the House of Representatives, propose amendments to it or pass the bill. It does not have the power to originate the bill.  The U.S. Senate gets around this by proposing wholesale amendments, gutting the entire bill passed by the House and inserting its own choice. This does not seem to be the intent of the framers of the constitution.

It should be noted that the Senate has not passed a budget in the last four years, all years controlled by a Democrat majority. Some will say there is no need because the budget is a 10 year plan and we are still under that 10 year plan. If people want to use this argument then they should be willing to stay with the revenue portions (tax rules) as well as the spending portions of the budget that is in place and not consistently changing them. A budget is two sided, income/revenue and expenses.  By constantly passing bills that increase the spending portion of the "budget" they are defacto negating the budget. The need to increase revenue puts that budget out of sync as well. Defacto we do not have a budget because it is constantly ignored.

The President is not, in the constitution, given the power to make law,
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Once a bill is passed, the President has the option to veto any bill passed by the legislative branch. This is a power that should be used judiciously, respecting the intent of there being three different branches of government. To state, flat out, that the President will veto a bill for raising revenues, without even giving it a chance to be vetted and voted on by the legislative branch, is a usurpation of the legislative function. It must also be recognized that when a President vetoes a bill the President is saying, and should be held accountable for so saying, that his knowledge and wisdom is better than the 535 representatives elected by the citizens to represent them in the Legislative branch of the government.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said that, in the unlikely event the legislation is passed by the Senate and reaches the president’s desk, it will receive a veto. This is the President's way of working with the Legislative branch of the government. So much for negotiating and working with the responsible branch of government.

There seems to be a difference of agreement as to what consists of a SPENDING cut and limitation which is causing a revenue short fall. Maybe it is time for the President to pull in the reigns of the government/executive branch on a spending binge. As a consequence the mandatory spending cuts that were put into place when the current debt limit was put in place are being triggered January 1.

Yes, this will be painful but the government needs to stop spending money it does not have! Wait until it has the money to spend it, just like responsible citizens are required to do.

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