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Liberty Lesson, Congress authorizes spending not the President.


The Constitution places the power of the purse in Congress: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law . . . ... The Appropriations Clause would appear to categorically enjoin the President and federal agencies to spend funds only as appropriated by Congress.

Even though it may seem like a good idea for Trump to build the wall, he does not have the authority, no matter what he TWEETS


The Appropriations Clause is not technically a grant of legislative power, because pursuant to the Necessary and Proper Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1), Congress clearly has the power to specify the objects, amounts, and timing of federal spending—even if there were no Appropriations Clause. If Congress could not limit the Executive’s withdrawing of funds from the Treasury, then the constitutional grants of power to Congress to raise taxes (Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) and to borrow money (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2) would be for naught because the Executive could effectively compel taxing and borrowing by spending at will. Rather, the Appropriations Clause creates a legislative duty that Congress exercise control and assume responsibility over the federal spending. Congress’s “power of the purse” is at the foundation of our Constitution’s separation of powers, a constitutionally mandated check on Executive power


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