Supporting the Troops?
Matthew Yglesias asks,
If George W. Bush vetos the Iraq supplemental the Democrats passed, isn’t that him cutting off funding for the troops in the field? I mean, here’s congress, appropriating some funds for the troops, and instead of letting the troops get the funds Bush is saying, no, he’ll hold their well-being hostage to advance his own perogatives and ego.
It could certainly be perceived that way, especially since the public is increasingly ready to get out of Iraq.
From a pure public policy perspective, though, it’s just checks and balances at work. The president, as commander-in-chief, has a plan for winning the war which Congress, as controller of the purse strings, refuses to adequately fund. The president’s main lever here is the veto pen, followed by a plea from the bully pulpit to demand Congress pass an improved version of the bill.
Bush is, to say the least, not the most effective user of said platform and, given the unpopularity of the war, his pleas could fall flat, at which point he’ll be forced to sign an essentially unchanged bill. (I’m presuming that the votes for override don’t exist.)
This, by the way, is the way things are supposed to work when there are strong inter-branch disputes over significant matters of policy.