President Trump Signs HR 244 – The Continuing Spending Resolution – Into Law…

Earlier today President Donald Trump signed HR244 into law.  The provisional spending bill that funds government through September 30th, the end of fiscal year 2017.

There has been a great deal of anxiety amid punditry about the spending outline itself, and the spending priorities as determined by both houses of congress.  Some of the criticism is warranted, most is not.

The basic principle the entire professional political class seem to overlook is the reasoning for the CR itself.  Congress has been unable to fulfill its budgetary obligation since 2007.

In fact, the last federal budget (fiscal year ’08) was signed into law in September of 2007.  By the conclusion of this CR it will have been an entire decade without a federal budget.

Perspective: ♦ Over half of all elected federal politicians have never held elected office in any year with a federal budget in place.  ♦ Almost two-thirds of Republicans in congress have never known a federal budget for a single day in office.

THAT FACT should be the target of the ire from all Americans, particularly conservatives.  However, hypocritically, it is not.

For some reason ankle-biters, antagonists, and crony constitutional punditry amid the various CONservative outlets, choose instead to focus their criticism toward the first president in our lifetime to actually deliver on conservative policy, conservative values and expressed policy objectives/outcomes that benefit all common sense Americans.

A pox belongs on the hypocritical houses, columns, shows, radio broadcasts and panel segments of current critics who watched it all unfold.  My cold anger does not provide room for me to give any f**ks toward such inane and disingenuously hypocritical positions.  Sorry for cussing, but sheeesh.

In short, stuff it – there’s actual work to be done.

Having said that, My President rightly qualifies his signature today and delivers congressional notification of how the 2,000 page omnibus spending bill will be interpreted:

Today I have signed into law H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which authorizes appropriations that fund the operation of the Federal Government through September 30, 2017.

Certain provisions of this bill (e.g., Division C, sections 8049, 8058, 8077, 8081, and 8116; Division J, under the heading “Contribution for International Peacekeeping Activities”) would, in certain circumstances, unconstitutionally limit my ability to modify the command and control of military personnel and materiel or unconstitutionally vest final decision-making authority in my military advisers.  Further, Division B, section 527; Division C, section 8101; and Division F, section 517 each restrict the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States; Division C, section 8103 restricts the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to foreign countries and does not include an exception for when a court might order the release of a detainee to certain countries.  I will treat these, and similar provisions, consistently with my constitutional authority as Commander in Chief.

Certain provisions (e.g., Division C, sections 8040, 8075, 8114, 9005, 9011, 9014, and under the headings “Operation and Maintenance, Defense-Wide,” “Afghanistan Security Forces Fund,” “Counter-ISIL Train and Equip Fund,” and “Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Fund”) require advance notice to the Congress before the President may direct certain military actions or provide certain forms of military assistance.  In approving this bill, I wish to reiterate the longstanding understanding of the executive branch that these types of provisions encompass only military actions for which providing advance notice is feasible and consistent with my constitutional authority and duty as Commander in Chief to protect national security.

Numerous provisions could, in certain circumstances, interfere with the exercise of my constitutional authorities to negotiate international agreements (e.g., Division B, sections 509, 519, 530; Division J, sections 7010(c), 7013(a), 7025(c), 7029, 7031(e)(2), 7037, 7042, 7043, 7044, 7045, 7048, 7060, 7070, and 7071), to receive ambassadors (e.g., Division J, section 7031(c)), and to recognize foreign governments (e.g., Division J, section 7070(b)(2)(A)).  My Administration will treat each of these provisions consistently with my constitutional authorities in the area of foreign relations.

Division E, section 622 prohibits the use of funds to pay the salaries and expenses for several advisory positions in the White House.  The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority.  The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it.  Legislation that significantly impedes my ability to supervise or obtain the views of appropriate senior advisers violates the separation of powers by undermining my ability to exercise my constitutional responsibilities, including to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.  My Administration will, therefore, construe section 622 consistently with these Presidential prerogatives.

Division B, section 537 provides that the Department of Justice may not use any funds to prevent implementation of medical marijuana laws by various States and territories.  I will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Several provisions (e.g., Division C, section 10006(b); Division D, section 401; Division J, section 7041(b)(3); Division N, sections 310, 311, 402, 502(d), and 503) mandate or regulate the submission of certain executive branch information to the Congress.  I will treat these provisions in a manner consistent with my constitutional authority to withhold information that could impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the executive branch, or the performance of my constitutional duties.  In particular, Division E, section 713(1) and (2) prohibits the use of appropriations to pay the salary of any Federal officer or employee who interferes with or prohibits certain official communications between Federal employees and Members of Congress or who takes adverse action against an officer or employee because of such communications.  I will construe these provisions not to apply to any circumstances that would detract from my authority to supervise, control, and correct employees’ communications with the Congress related to their official duties, including in cases where such communications would be unlawful or could reveal confidential information protected by executive privilege.

Division C, section 8009 prohibits the use of funds to initiate a special access program unless the congressional defense committees receive 30 days’ advance notice.  The President’s authority to classify and control access to information bearing on the national security flows from the Constitution and does not depend upon a legislative grant of authority.  Although I expect to be able to provide the advance notice contemplated by section 8009 in most situations as a matter of comity, situations may arise in which I must act promptly while protecting certain extraordinarily sensitive national security information.  In these situations, I will treat these sections in a manner consistent with my constitutional authorities, including as Commander in Chief.

Several provisions (e.g., Division C, section 8134; Division J, section 7063; and Division K, section 418) prohibit the use of funds to deny an Inspector General access to agency records or documents.  I will construe these, and similar provisions, consistently with my authority to control the dissemination of information protected by executive privilege.

Several provisions prohibit the use of funds to recommend legislation to the Congress (e.g., Division A, section 716; Division C, sections 8005, 8014, 8070(a)(2), 8076; and Division H, section 210), or require recommendations of legislation to the Congress (e.g., Division C, section 8012(b), 8035(b); Division F, section 532; Division G, sections 101, 102, and a proviso under the heading “Administrative Provisions—Forest Service”; Division N, sections 605(c) and 610).  Because the Constitution gives the President the authority to recommend “such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” (Article II, section 3), my Administration will continue to treat these, and similar provisions, as advisory and non-binding.

Numerous provisions authorize congressional committees to veto a particular use of appropriated funds (e.g., Division C, section 8058), or condition the authority of officers to spend or reallocate funds on the approval of congressional committees (e.g., Division A, sections 702, 706, and 717; Division D, sections 101(a) and 201(a); Division G, sections 403 and 409; Division K, sections 188, 222, 405 and 406).  These are impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement in the execution of the laws other than by enactment of statutes.  My Administration will notify the relevant committees before taking the specified actions and will accord the recommendations of such committees all appropriate and serious consideration, but it will not treat spending decisions as dependent on the approval of congressional committees.

My Administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender (e.g., Division B, under the heading “Minority Business Development”; Division C, sections 8016, 8021, 8038, and 8042; Division H, under the headings “Departmental Management Salaries and Expenses,” “School Improvement Programs,” and “Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program Account”; Division K, under the heading “Native American Housing Block Grants”; and Division K, section 213) in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.


Allow me to clarify for the annoying gnats with an apt methaphor.

President Trump arrived at the White House as it was burning down from the prior 15 years of inherently corrupt, and in many cases absent, fiscal policy.

The national debt doubled in one single administration as hoards of special interests raided the national treasury.  Congress did squat to prevent the theft; and in many cases a solid argument can be made that they actually participated in the raiding.

Simultaneous to this arrival, the most dangerous nuclear military threat since the Cuban missile crisis was laid directly at the feet of the incoming administration, North Korea.

Through the prior four administrations (Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Obama, Obama) no concrete policy to stop the nuclear threat from growing was at the forefront of national security policy.

However, worse than not doing anything to stop it, the prior administrations’ did nothing to prepare the nation for the possibility of the worst case scenario: their inability to stop it.

The reality of this landscape is what President Trump addressed upon arrival.

With this North Korea crisis stark and looming, the first priority of President Trump has been to immediately build-up a military force so that we at least have a preventative option in the event diplomacy fails, and a worst case scenario evidences itself.

As a direct and real consequence, the military spending WAS/IS the top short-term budgetary priority for a long-term survival need.   President Trump let everyone know  national security via the military investment need was priority number one; because the reality is: the threat from North Korea is national security issue number one.

That urgent financial objective, to fund the restoration of a strong military, was met.

The rest, all other priorities, can and will be addressed in an actual budget for fiscal year 2018 that has been put forth by President Trump.

And, I’m sure, our president will go to the mattresses if needed to fight for the next level priorities to complete the policy objectives of his administration.

Remember these words: “either we have a country or we don’t”…

….Everything else, as important as each “else” might be, is details.

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