Power of the Purse: Abdicated, Not Blocked

In a remarkable op-ed in last Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal (March 24, A 11), David Rivkin and Lee Casey call for an end to the filibuster in order to curb President Obama’s negation of Congress’ power of the purse. They argue:

The Obama administration has systematically targeted critical congressional powers … It has rewritten … statutes … [and] effectively blocked Congress’s “power of the purse.”…The recent standoff over [amnesty in] the … Homeland Security appropriations bill is only the latest effort … [The] Obama administration’s strategy, denying the very legitimacy of Congress’s use of its appropriations power …  has been abetted by Democratic senators who deploy the filibuster to keep spending legislation that the president opposes from an up-or-down Senate vote.

Whatever else may be said about the merits of abolishing the filibuster or about the president, Rivkin and Casey appear to assume that the House of Representatives cannot, alone, exercise the power of the purse — regardless of the Senate or president.

I recently have written articles (here, here and here)* placing responsibility for failure to exercise that power, in order to rein in Obama abuses, squarely on Speaker Boehner and, more broadly, on the House Republicans who elected him. The filibuster and or president cannot and should not excuse the nonfeasance of a duplicitous and feckless House majority elected by making now-broken promises


* Updated alternatives: here, here and here.