Senate panel cuts off funding for Cheney's office in flap with Dems over executive order
By Andrew Taylor -- ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats moved Tuesday to cut off funding for Vice President Dick Cheney's office in a continuing battle over whether he must comply with national security disclosure rules.
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.”
The tempest originally attracted widespread media attention after Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., charged that Cheney's office's had originally argued to the Archives that it did not have to comply with the order because it was not “an entity within the executive branch.”
Cheney's office, Waxman said, also blocked the archives from doing an onsite inspection of his office to make sure classified information was being properly protected.
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.
“This is going to further erode any sort of working relationship back and forth,” Brownback said. “This is a patently bad idea.”
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The Dem's are going too far? I find it interesting that that is the Republicans' knee-jerk first-response. Look at what Cheney has done, fergoshsakes!
And, Brownback apparently wants to have it both ways:
Hello--Senator??? Cheney himself says he's not part of the executive branch! So, how can the Senate erode 'relations between the executive and legislative branches of government' if the executive isn't involved in the dispute?
Hoist by their own petards. If Cheney and Bush insist they are not part of the executive branch--the senate can simply stop treating them as if they are.
Hey! Since, by their own admissions, they're not part of the government, we don't have to impeach them in order to get rid of them!