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Thread by @LarrySchweikart: "1) There have been some crazy theories going around so let's look at what is actual law. 2) Congress has a two-step program for spending mon […]" #s

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1) There have been some crazy theories going around so let's look at what is actual law.

2) Congress has a two-step program for spending money. Technically, the President doesn't spend anything.

3) First, there is the "Authorization" process. The House, then the Senate . . .
3) contd: . . . AUTHORIZE every department and agency to spend up to a certain amount of money. Think of this as giving your kid permission to spend the money in his piggy bank.

4) The APPROPRIATIONS process then actually allocates how much of that authorized $ can be spent.
5) So, you "authorize" your kid to spend $10 . . . but there is nothing in the piggy bank to spend. Then you put in $5 that you have "appropriated." He still can only spend $5, because that's all that has been appropriated.

6) Departments turn in their budgets yearly.
6) contd. Typically, Congress does what's called "baseline budgeting," wherein they assume a department starts with LAST year's budget #s, and Congress works up from there. (another reason for constant deficits).

7) "Zero-based" budgeting would require a dept be reviewed . . .
7) contd. . . . annually with new hearings. Actually, as much as we hate "baseline," it would be almost impossible to run any government of any size on "zero." But a five-year zeroing out would be reasonable.

8) So, DoD gets its budget:
8) contd. You have $xm for tanks, $ym for planes, $zm for pay.

DoD CANNOT willy-nilly just "move" money from tanks to planes. That hasn't been AUTHORIZED.

9) You say to your kid, "Sure, spend $5 on a movie ticket." But you didn't authorize spending $5 on candy.
10) Sometimes, authorization/appropriation is conditional upon meeting conditions set by Congress. Don't meet the conditions? Don't get the money.

11) This COULD be the basis for, if Congress had a spine the basis to deny virtually ALL federal funding to "sanctuary cities."
12) It has been the basis on which the feds get involved in ALL education: don't accept our rules on transgenders? No $$.

13) Anyway, the point is, Trump CANNOT simply "take" money from DoD and apply it to the Wall. The Army Corps of Engineers is funded, and they have
13) contd. already submitted their list of projects/payroll for which money is authorized. If ANY of that is spent any other way, Congress simply would not APPROPRIATE any further of the AUTHORIZED money til Army CoE straightened up.
14) Further, Richard Nixon thought he had a way to contain spending on what he thought was extravagant stuff in 1973. He "impounded" the AUTHORIZED and APPROPRIATED money, but wouldn't spend it.

it sat there.
15) Nixon cited Truman, Ike, JFK, and Johnson, all of whom impounded funds. However, in each case they did so on the basis of "economy and efficiency." Nixon impounded money on grounds that in the future it would raise taxes.

Likely, but not provable.
16) Further, it was subsequently concluded by courts that the illegal acts by Truman, Ike, JFK, and LBJ were not precedent for another illegal act.

17) In other words, just cuz Zero "got away with it" once or twice doesn't make it legal precedent.
18) Nor would it make it likely Trump, with a semi-hostile congress, could get away with it.

19) There is no Constitutional wiggle room for Trump to arbitrarily build the wall.
20) Actually, that's a good thing. If an when it's built, it will be on firm Constitutional and legal foundation as well as on its physical foundation.,

21) And remember, the Founders took all these precautions to empower the LEGISLATURE to control all spending.
22) We have ourselves, the voters, to blame for the legislature that has taken full advantage of its Constitutional powers.

23) Not until we have people in there who genuinely think like us will we have change.
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