Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Congress and the Constitution

I'm really interested in the question of how much power Congress has to use its control of the purse strings to manage a war. Clearly, the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, although it never does that anymore. It seems clear to me also that Congress has the power to end war. But what about all of the points in between?

If Congress can, for example, restrict funds from being used to build up troop levels in Iraq, could it also pass a law requiring that, for instance, no money may be used to pay the salary of a general Congress considers incompetent?

Mind you, I'm not interested (yet) in whether it would be smart for Congress to try to micro-manage a war. I'm just interested in how much power it has to do so. I'm sure there is bound to be some good commentary out there on the topic, but I haven't found it, and I don't have much time to look. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Matt Singer said...

Center for American Progress has this analysis. Walter Pincus of the Washington Post discusses it as well.

I think Congress has pretty broad rein to micromanage if they choose to. I'd argue that micromanagement is generally a bad idea. But when the CEO is operating this badly, there's little choice but to intervene to a larger extent.