Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | December 13, 2002

Run-around Congress, endorse discrimination

I don't know what bad news the administration has on tap for the next few Fridays, but they may want to hurry up and release it all tonight. None of those things would have a fighting chance against Lott's afternoon press conference ("seriously guys, I'm really, REALLY sorry!").

For example, Bush announced yesterday the implementation of his faith-based initiative through executive fiat, bypassing the more appropriate Congressional approval. As the Washington Post editorial board noted:

[T]he faith-based initiative ... stalled in both the House and Senate last year after a raw and substantive debate over the fundamental constitutional principle of separation of church and state. Last summer there was an uproar after the leak of a Salvation Army internal report saying the group had received a commitment from the White House to protect religious charities from state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation ... In his executive order yesterday, Mr. Bush did not explicitly promise religious organizations that receive federal grants an exemption from such state laws. But he did make clear that religious organizations that receive federal contracts may discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion.
There is some parallel between this decision and Lott -- both support policies that allow discrimination. But that's a simplistic analogy, and, frankly, one that distracts from the real problem.

Congress has the constitutional duty to decide how the nation's budget is crafted and spent. It is Congress' responsibility (subject to judicial oversight) to determine whether it is appropriate for 1) religious organizations to receive federal dollars for services they provide, and if so, 2) whether religious organizations that discriminate are still eligible for those federal dollars.

The president now has complete control of all branches of government, yet still found it unecessary or burdensome to push his policies along constitutionally prescribed processes.

This is government through executive fiat (and I won't even get into the secrecy stuff right now). Regardless of your political ideology, this has to be disturbing.

Posted December 13, 2002 10:19 AM | Comments (76)


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