Power of the Purse

A quick thought following up on the last post. I think it would be pretty awesome if instead of going the legal route to try to impose accountability on the president and his cabinet, congress just started making more creative use of the power of the purse. So, for instance, how about a spending bill that significantly boosted combat pay for soldiers deployed in Iraq, while also reducing the salary of the Attorney General to minimum wage? Or minimum wage for the entire White House staff? My understanding is that congress can do this, or at least attempt to. Now, of course, you might say that they’ll never get the votes necessary to over-ride a filibuster or veto, but I think setting up a bill in which Republicans had to vote against an increase in combat pay for the sole reason that it would result in a pay cut for the attorney general would make for pretty good optics.

Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC.

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