Friday, June 29, 2007

House bid to cut off Cheney funds fails - Emanuel led effort in flap over secrecy

House bid to cut off Cheney funds fails - Emanuel led effort in flap over secrecy
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune and The Associated Press
Published June 29, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney won't lose his home, his office and his entertainment expense account after all.

The House on Thursday rejected an attempt to eliminate the vice president's executive office budget, a move that Democrats tied to Cheney's assertion that his office did not need to comply with national security disclosure rules required of other executive branch agencies.

Republicans denounced the proposal as political theater.

The vote, rejecting an amendment to a 2008 spending bill for the Treasury Department and executive branch agencies, was 217-209.

"We are pleased to see a bipartisan majority reject this political stunt," said Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the author of the amendment, said it was the logical outgrowth of Cheney's claim that his office was outside the scope of rules imposed on other executive offices.

"Perhaps the vice president thought he occupied an undisclosed fourth branch of government," Emanuel said.

The proposal would have withheld about $4.8 million in the budget for the vice president's official residence, his office and for other expenses including the hiring of passenger vehicles and entertainment expenses. He still would have received a budget for his role as president of the Senate.

The latest dispute between the Democratic Congress demanding information from the White House and a vice president with a penchant for secrecy came when Cheney said his office was exempt from sections of a presidential order that executive branch offices provide data on how much material they classify and declassify.

Cheney's office, with backing from the White House, argued that the offices of the president and vice president were exempt from the order because they are not executive "agencies."


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