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Congress Vs. The President

Congress Vs. The President image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

In a rooent letter Hon. Alexander H. Stephens clearly defines the right of Congress to designate the purpose tor which the people's money shall be expended : In the matter of the controversy betvveen the President and Congress j upon the subject of the Use of troops at the polls, and the use of United States deputy marshals in conr.ection with the eleotions, my position, af ter the vetóos by the President of the bilis repealing the acts authorizing such use at troops and deputy marshals, was that white Congress would not be justified in withholding all appropriations and stopping the operations of the government in all its functions, because of said vetoes, yet it was not only right, but the duty of Congress to ''"sígnate and specify the uses to which the inoney appiuptlatnd by timm should be applied. The power to appropriate means the power to specify and limit the objects to which the moneys are set apart. While, therefore, Congress could not repeal the acts authorizing the use of troops and deputy marshals over the President's veto for the want of two-thirds majority, yet I maintained they had the perfect right to limit the appropriation to the army by expressly djeclaring that-no part of the money so appropriated should be applied to the payment or use of troops so employed at the polls; and in like manner they had a perfect right to desígnate and limit the uses of the moneys appropriated for the payment of the marshals in the discharge of all their regular and ordinary dnties in the execution of the mandatesof the courts, in the administration of the eivil and criminal lavys of the land, with an express prohibition that no part of the money so appropriated for marshals and their general deputies in the administration of justice should be applied to the payment of special deputy marshals for service connected with elections. The controversy between Ccngress and the President flnally narrowed down to these distinct issues - the army bill was passed with this restriction upon it. The President signed it and it is a law of the land. A bill appropriating $600,000 for the payment of marshals and general dèputies (which was all that was asked) with a restriction in substance (that no part of the money so appropriated or set apart should be used for payment of special deputy marshals to run elections), was passed by Congress. The bill was vetoed by the President, and Congress adjourned without passing another bill on the subject. All the other appropriation bilis were passed and duly signed. The issue, therefore, on this matter, now before the country, is, as I have of ten said and again repeat, not one of the "state rights," but one iuvolving the right and duty of Congrega to control ita uses to which the public maney shall be applied. This is a great issue, but not involving the question of state rights or state sovereignty at all, but a greaty question between the relative powers of the two co-ordinate departments of the Federal Government. By the constitution Congress alone has the power to tax the people and raise nioney for any federal purpose ; and while in this country Congress may not, as the Parliament in England, withhold all appropriations until tliere be a redress of grievance, etc, for reasons I nepd not repeat here, yet Congress has undoubtedly the clear rigbt to limit and designato the uses tLröiout n-"ílxes of the l)ePle sha11 bt ijpiiea.


Old News
Michigan Argus