Monday, September 22, 2008

Here's the only real power Congress has

The Bush administration and Secretary Paulson has thrown the Paulson proposal into the maw of Congress and demanded that they pass it as written because the financial crisis that we are currently experiencing demands they do. Andrew Sahl over at the Reality-Based Community explains why this is the only time Congress has any real power over the executive.
The history of England's parliament is the history of "supply"--a constitutional term familiar in Commonwealth countries but largely forgotten in the U.S. (and that's a problem). When kings needed more money than their own lands could provide, they had to ask the nobles. When they got tired of asking the nobles, they started to rely on newfangled things called cities and rising social classes called burgesses and knights. Members of these groups were easier to negotiate with collectively than individually. The rest is history: the history of the House of Commons.

The process, as told in Volume II of David Hume's History of England, wasn't pretty. It was a matter of the Commons' slowly finding--and infuriated monarchs gradually admitting--that its position gave it the power of "bargaining with the prince"--precisely in times of war or other crises when the monarch really needed the money. Placing conditions on demands for emergency funds isn't an abuse of Congress' power. It's the whole foundation of Congress' power.

[Highlighting added by editor WTF-o]
It's nice to see someone with historical training explaining the real power of the legislative branch.

Ignore the Republicans. The routinely get things wrong. They are confidence men. As usual they are just trying to steamroll their opponents and further damage America.

No comments: