Donks Defy Dick

Senate Democrats are looking to play budgetary hardball with Dick Cheney’s office over his refusal to, you know, let the American people know just what he’s been up to (aside from shooting his friends):

A Senate appropriations panel chaired by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., refused to fund $4.8 million in the vice president’s budget until Cheney’s office complies with parts of an executive order governing its handling of classified information.

At issue is a requirement that executive branch offices provide data on how much material they classify and declassify. That information is to be provided to the Information Security Oversight Office at The National Archives.

Cheney’s office, with backing from the White House, argues that the offices of the president and vice president are exempt from the order because they are not executive branch “agencies.”

Naturally, some Republicans are not pleased with this development:

Republicans on the Senate panel said Durbin was going overboard in using Congress’ power of the purse to try to force Cheney to conform with the order.

Such a step, said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., would set a terrible precedent in relations between the executive and legislative branches of government, which have historically let each other set their own budgets.

But, uh, wait… I thought Cheney’s office wasn’t part of the Executive branch. So, just how is it going to “set a terrible precedent in relations” between the two branches. Why, if anything, this is just a familial squabble among fellow legislative members of the government!

Oh, Cheney’s full of crap? And Brownback’s an idiot?

Got it.

6 Responses to “Donks Defy Dick”

  1. Robin Roberts Says:

    Aside from cute bon mots, why is it the responsibility of the Senate appropriations committee to ensure compliance with an Executive Order ? Answer, its not.

  2. andy Says:

    Responsibility and capability are two different things.

    If the White House wishes to facilitate Cheney’s skullduggery, I’ve no problem with other branches using the powers at their disposal to bring them in to line.

  3. Robin Roberts Says:

    Cheney is not engaging in “skullduggery” in my opinion. A dispute about the scope of an executive order is not within Congress’ scope of authority.

  4. andy Says:

    If they have budgetary authority, then I’d say they do have a means to express their opinion on the dispute and to influence the actions of another branch (wait, sorry, of their own branch, if Cheney be believed).

    What would you call what Cheney is engaging in? Honest and open government? Get back to me when he’s let us on who advised him on how to shape our nation’s energy policy.

  5. geoff Says:

    Semantic claptrap. The Office of the VP is not an agency of the Executive Branch, it is an integral part of the Executive Branch. Agencies are created by the Executive Branch; the Vice President’s office was created by the Constitution.

    Bush has already clarified that his order to have the National Archives review the classified holdings of Executive agencies does not apply to the Executive offices of the POTUS or VPOTUS. The Democrats are playing this up as some sort of violation of an Executive Order, when it clearly is not.

    That said, Cheney should provide the requested information to the National Archives. I suspect they didn’t want to comply simply because it’s a PitA, but it is good security practice.

  6. geoff Says:

    I should also mention that blocking the security review has nothing to do with the openness of Cheney’s office. It’s not like the inspectors review the contents of the documents – they simply review the number, handling, and declassification status of the documents.

    I have been through many security inspections. Even if you store very few documents, they are a major pain. If, as I suspect is the case with Cheney, you have many documents and haphazard security procedures, then you’re going to get dinged by the inspectors even if there are no breaches of security. The press would certainly enjoy that.

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