The odds of a government shutdown this autumn are ever increasing. That's the scuttlebutt on Capitol Hill these days, with the White House and congressional leaders both digging in. And of course, little consideration is being given to the people this lack of approved budget will have on regular people.
Our concern and well-being are far down the list of considerations by Congress because they really don't care. Their pay is guaranteed. Or so it seems. But the fine state of Illinois, led by Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka may have found a way around this -- at least temporarily.
Causing huge delays in passing a Pension Protection Act, Illinois congresspeople found that their paychecks were suspended. All it took was a simple stoke of the pen by the Governor who defunded the accounts that pay these legislators. With that, the comptroller ceased issuing checks.
An existing bill to the Constitution says changes in lawmaker salary cannot take effect during the term in which they were elected. But in the case of Illinois and with a similarly stated law, Quinn cited a prior court ruling and said he isn't changing their salary, he's just withholding the money to pay it. A technicality, but a legal one.
President Obama has executive powers, especially in what he can label a temporary state of emergency -- a lack of a functioning approved budget allowing the country to maintain law and order. A case of national security. We all know about that. He can suspend any constitutional rights (broadly interpreted as legal under Article II of the Constitution outlining executive powers). Just because Obama hasn't used these powers this way before, doesn't mean he doesn't have them.
Consider this excerpt re: Article II of the U.S. Constitution from Wikipedia:
A presidential proclamation "states a condition, declares a law and requires obedience, recognizes an event or triggers the implementation of a law (by recognizing that the circumstances in law have been realized)". Presidents “define” situations or conditions on situations that become legal or economic truth. These orders carry the same force of law as executive orders—the difference between the two is that executive orders are aimed at those inside government while proclamations are aimed at those outside government. The administrative weight of these proclamations is upheld because they are often specifically authorized by congressional statute, making them “delegated unilateral powers”. Presidential proclamations are often dismissed as a practical presidential tool for policy making because of the perception of proclamations as largely ceremonial or symbolic in nature. However, the legal weight of presidential proclamations suggests their importance to presidential governance.
(The words or phrases underlined above are mine -- just for emphasis.)
Maybe it's time to call the congressional bluff. Let Boehner and the GOP stand in the way of a reasonable budget and shut the government down. Then see their paycheck's funding withheld as a non-essential funding expenditure during the crisis. Congress will still eventually get paid because that's mandated by law, but WHEN can be determined by an executive order. Requiring a SCOTUS ruling to overturn it will require SCOTUS to be in session -- and if they're not funded, they won't be around to do that.
How fast will these obstructionists endeavor to do the right thing when they won't have a valid paycheck to come home to, just like so many of us? My bet is pretty fast.
Can this be done legally? We won't know until it's been tried. Boehner and the GOP seem to want to play a game of bluff. Maybe two can play at this. Care to show your cajones, Mr. President?
She's getting blackmailed left and right. Hope it's some good stuff O'Reilly has. Via 44.
"I'm trying to be fair to Christine O'Donnell. She's been on the program a couple of times, and we have some kind of crazy stuff that she said. We're not going to play it yet. I don't think it's relevant - yet. We still like Ms. O'Donnell to come on the Factor. I'm not in the business of injuring her. I'd like to see if she's the better candidate."