Friday, January 08, 2010

The president's power over the national budget

Much is made of the power of Congress to make appropriations, but really the power is with the president. After the sound and the fury of the congressional hearings, after the General Appropriations Act has been published, the president can simply impound what she doesn't want released, declare the unappropriated money as savings and then use that savings to meet expenditures she likes.

News reports say that Congress has finally curtailed this power of the president by including a provision in the recently passed budget expressly forbidding the president from impounding funds. The president is now in a Catch-22 situation. If she vetoes that provision, she confirms her malicious intent on the budget all those past years; if she does not veto it, she would in effect be curtailing the power of (possibly) President Noynoy Aquino in preparation for her being Speaker of the House.