Senate panel votes to strip $4.8 million from Cheney's office

In what will almost certainly end up as a symbolic vote, a Senate subcommittee decided not to provide some of the funding for the vice president's office until it complies with an executive order.

Alex Koppelman
July 11, 2007 2:42AM (UTC)

If you're still keeping score in the "which branch of government does Dick Cheney belong to" game, break out the pencil, because there are new developments today: A Senate subcommittee voted, along party lines, to withhold $4.8 million in funding from Cheney's office.

This fight started over a legalistic argument Cheney's office made to avoid oversight, under an executive order, of how it stores classified documents. In claiming an exemption, according to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the vice president's office claimed that it was not "an entity within the executive branch."


That prompted Democrats in both houses to move to cut off some of the money for the office.

"[W]e will no longer fund the executive branch of his office and he can live off the funding for the Senate presidency," Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said late last month, as he announced such an amendment to an annual spending bill. That move failed in the House, and -- let's be honest -- this current measure stands little chance of passing through the full Congress, let alone a presidential veto.

As vice president, Cheney's only official duties under the Constitution are to preside over the Senate and cast a tie-breaking vote there, if necessary, and to receive tallies of the Electoral College votes for president from the states. But Cheney does have an office within the White House -- one that is, in the history of the vice presidency, uniquely powerful -- and, obviously, some of his office's funding comes with the funding for the White House.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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