GOP draft bill in Senate would cede ‘power of the purse’ to Obama

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A handful of Republicans in the Senate are passing around a draft copy of a bill that would, in essence, give President Obama the “power of the purse,” according to a media report.

Politico reports that a draft bill being circulated among senators — and given a silent thumbs up by Republican leaders — would cancel out the scheduled $85 billion in across-the-board cuts due to take effect Friday and put the president in charge of coming up with a savings plan. The president would have until March 8 to find those savings, Politico said.

Lawmakers, under the plan, still would retain the right to overturn the president’s budget proposal by March 22,  but the idea represents a huge shift in Republican mindset.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the “power of the purse,” as Politico reports. And basically, Republicans are suggesting to cede that power to the president.

On top of that, the authority to overturn the president’s plan that the Republicans are maintaining comes with a caveat: It would take a resolution that achieves a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, according to Politico. Otherwise, the president still would veto and push through his plan.

Republican Sens. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma say this plan would make it more difficult for the White House to incite panic with statements about the looming sequester, and it also would spare the military from some budget cuts, Politico said. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, called it “exactly the right thing to do” in the Politico report.

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