Ted Cruz says presidents need approval to spend money — unless they're Trump

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The Texas Republican is angry that Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to forgive student loan debt without his permission.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) attacked a plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to unilaterally forgive student loan debt as unconstitutional. But Cruz showed less concern last year when Donald Trump unilaterally siphoned Defense funds to pay for his border wall.

"Which clause of the Constitution gives a President the authority to give away a trillion [dollars without] Congress?" Cruz asked on Tuesday. "And if you like this policy, how would you feel if/when a GOP president does it for something you don’t like? Here’s a better idea: follow the [Constitution and] don’t be a dictator."

Cruz was responding to Warren's suggestion that, if elected president, she could bypass Congress to forgive most student loan debt. She said Tuesday that this would be possible by having the secretary of education "compromise and modify" the loans, which is permissible under existing law. She released a letter from three legal experts calling her approach "lawful and permissible."

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Last year, Donald Trump declared a "national emergency" and decreed that this declaration would allow him to siphon billions in defense funds to pay for a southern border wall. As a candidate, Trump promised repeatedly that such a wall would be funded entirely by Mexico, but since then Congress has repeatedly declined to appropriate taxpayer money for this purpose.

In March of 2019, while most members of the Democratic House and Republican Senate voted to overrule Trump and terminate his order, Cruz did not. Rather than condemn the so-called emergency as an unconstitutional act, Cruz endorsed Trump's maneuver, issuing a "Statement in Support of President Trump's National Emergency Declaration."

"We cannot end this emergency without securing our southern border, and we cannot secure our border without building a wall," Cruz wrote, arguing that Trump had the statutory power to do so.

Cruz's office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about what circumstances he believes makes such a move acceptable.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration plans to take another $7.2 billion appropriated for the military and use it on his wall. The money would come from military construction projects and anti-drug trafficking efforts.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.