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Presidential Powers - Power Of Impoundment

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Power of Impoundment

Presidential IMPOUNDMENT is the refusal of the chief executive to expend funds appropriated by Congress. THOMAS JEFFERSON was the first president to impound funds, and many other presidents have followed suit. Congress has granted the president the authority not to spend funds if it has appropriated more funds than necessary to reach its goals. However, the president does not have a limitless impoundment power. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Train v. City of New York, 420 U.S. 35, 95 S. Ct. 839, 43 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1975), ruled that President RICHARD M. NIXON could not order the impoundment of substantial amounts of environmental protection funds for a program he vetoed, which had been overridden by Congress. The president cannot frustrate the will of Congress by killing a program through impoundment.

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