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."

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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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