Clo­sure Trump’s op­por­tu­nity

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

The im­pend­ing pos­si­bil­ity of a gov­ern­ment shut­down due to the fail­ure of Congress to raise the debt limit presents an in­ter­est­ing op­por­tu­nity for Pres­i­dent Trump. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s ac­tiv­i­ties are au­tho­rized by statute. They do not re­quire ap­pro­pri­a­tions in or­der to be car­ried out. In fact, Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton es­tab­lished the ba­sic Dis­trict of Columbia, in­clud­ing gov­ern­ment struc­tures, with only an au­tho­riza­tion from Congress and no ap­pro­pri­a­tion. Jimmy Carter was the first pres­i­dent in my mem­ory to claim that he had to shut down the gov­ern­ment if Congress al­lowed fund­ing to lapse. Be­fore that, pres­i­dents in­structed fed­eral em­ploy­ees to show up and dare Congress to fail to pay them (I am one of those who worked for the gov­ern­ment when a short lapse was ex­pected).

In­deed, af­ter all re­cent shut­downs, Congress later paid the fed­eral em­ploy­ees for the time that they had not worked. Carter claimed that he had to shut down gov­ern­ment be­cause em­ploy­ees work­ing with­out ap­pro­pri­a­tions were mak­ing il­le­gal do­na­tions to the gov­ern­ment. As usual, he was wrong. Fed­eral agencies are al­lowed to ac­cept do­na­tions for au­tho­rized ac­tiv­i­ties.

I doubt that Trump will con­front Congress, not be­cause he would not like the ex­er­cise, but be­cause he prob­a­bly will not be in­formed that he has the power. CARL STRASS Vir­ginia Beach, Vir­ginia

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