Congress holds spending power
Many either forget or ignore the fact that every single penny of money spent by the federal government is appropriated and spent by Congress. Not by anyone else! No one else has the power to spend a single dime.
When we read about some large grant going to the state of North Dakota to build a Lawrence Welk museum, or the Federal Department of Transportation awarding a large grant for a swimming pool in Miami, or the Department of Health and Human Services awarding millions to some university to study the sex life of the dragonfly, it is important to remember that Congress passed a bill that gave them the money for that purpose.
Entitlements? They seem to be automatic with nothing that can be done? Nonsense! They wouldn't be in place if Congress hadn't put them there, and Congress can change them anytime they choose. They may not choose to, but they clearly have the power to do anything they choose, so long as they have the votes!
It makes me wince to read about the "Reagan deficit," or the "Bush deficit," or the "Obama deficit." The president of the United States has lots of power, but cannot spend one dime until, and unless, Congress appropriates it first. So he/she is like a child who can beg and plead and even put pressure to bear, but until the parents write out the check, the child has nothing. It wouldn't seem fair for the parents to write out a large check to the child and then complain the child spends too much. Yet, that's what we read about daily.
A president presents a budget ... but, it has no authority, other than the power of persuasion. Congress takes the pieces of it and passes them in whatever form and substance it chooses, so long as the votes are there.
Therefore, if we truly want to bring federal spending under control and reduce the future burden on our children and grandchildren, it is Congress we must change. The party leadership of the Congress are the most important people in the country as far as federal spending is concerned. Our spending today is more controlled by Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi than any other two individuals by far ... closely followed by the highest ranking Democrat on the various committees. If they choose to follow the president's requests, then we will spend according to his wishes, but only if they choose! President Reagan had a Democratic Congress through much of his eight years, and yet, it is a "Reagan deficit" we read about. President Clinton had a Republican Congress through the last half of his presidency, but it is the "Clinton surplus." And that's just incorrect.
President Obama may or may not get a Republican Congress with which to deal come November. If he does, it is no longer the "Obama deficit ... It will be the "Republican deficit."
Congress, past and present, really needs to be held accountable, and the press/media, just by using accurate descriptions of this situation, could help a lot.
CHARLES O. STONES,