What: All Issues : War & Peace : H.R. 3289. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan/Vote to Strike Provisions Which Would Grant the Administration with Broad Discretion Over Future Military Construction Projects. (2003 house Roll Call 552)
 Who: All Members
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H.R. 3289. Fiscal 2004 Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan/Vote to Strike Provisions Which Would Grant the Administration with Broad Discretion Over Future Military Construction Projects.
house Roll Call 552     Oct 16, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

The U.S. Constitution explicitly states that Congress shall be the sole branch of government that can spend money from the U.S. Treasury (the so-called "power of the purse"). At the same time, however, the Constitution vests military decision-making in the executive branch; one of the roles of the president is commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces. In times of war, inter-branch conflicts often arise because, especially on war powers issues, the legislative and executive branches can be characterized as separated institutions sharing powers. During debate on the administration's $87 billion supplemental spending request to Congress, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) proposed a measure which would have revoked funding for future, unspecified military construction projects. As originally drafted, the supplemental bill provided the Bush Administration with broad discretion over expenditures on military construction projects. In the view of Sanchez and other Progressives, those future projects would require congressional approval because Congress, and not the president, is constitutionally empowered to make the final determination regarding how U.S. taxpayer money should be spent. Conservatives opposed Sanchez's measure because, in their view, the president is better equipped than Congress to respond quickly to changing circumstances on the ground in Iraq. Congressional tardiness on issues of funding, Conservatives argued, might undermine U.S. military operations. On a vote of 128-295, the Sanchez amendment was struck down and provisions to grant the administration with broad discretion over future military construction projects remained in the underlying supplemental spending bill.

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