I left her name out of the headline. It reads more surreal that way. Imagine how much more surreal it would read if Bush himself wasn’t talking to Iran and North Korea right now.
We’ve already been over the legal niceties. It’s not who she’s meeting with that implicates the Logan Act, it’s that she’s meeting with anyone to discuss policy without the president’s approval. The Rick Ellensburgs of the world talk a mighty good separation-of-powers game when it comes to executive overreach, but they’re feelings on congressional overreach are predictably more “nuanced.” Let the GOP take back the House and Senate and a Democrat take the White House and we’ll see how nuanced they are then.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will not be permitted to use State Department funds to travel to nations that are known to have sponsored terrorism if a Republican amendment to appropriations legislation passes the House on Thursday.
The amendment to the $34 billion State and Foreign Operations bill, offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), prohibits funds to be used to travel to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.
King told The Hill that he believed Pelosi was in violation of the Logan Act, a 1799 law signed by President John Adams that prohibits unauthorized U.S. citizens from interfering with relations between the United States and foreign governments.
“I was one of the members of Congress that was incensed the Speaker had taken it upon herself to conduct foreign policy,” he said. “It was a blatant violation of the Logan Act.”
Right on cue, here’s that nuanced separation-of-powers argument:
“How can anyone take this amendment seriously, especially when it comes on the same day that Bush Administration officials are in North Korea? And why would anyone think it is responsible to restrict the ability of the Speaker of the House to bring the concerns of the American people to foreign leaders? It is part of the Speaker’s job,” said spokesman Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi.
That’s not unlike Tony Snow defending an attempt by Bush to pass his own Iraq spending measure on grounds that “Congress just passed one too.” It’s contemptuous (and contemptible) in its stupidity and dishonesty. King’s measure is no mere rhetorical exercise, either: she’s already talked about going to Iran. Even sol, I don’t see the point. Congress controls the purse; if Pelosi wants money to go see Ahmadinejad, she can set up her own foreign-policy travel fund. Obviously the Logan Act’s not going to stop her. Let’s just pray her next success is as stunning as the previous one.
Exit question: Why isn’t she on the roll here? Doesn’t the Speaker always vote?