Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Summer 2006

Abstract

To explore the implications of riders - provisions added to appropriation bills that "ride" on the underlying bill - on the United States' continued military force in Iraq, the author draws three hypotheticals, each focusing on the debate surrounding the policy and political disputes raised by the use of such riders. A "withdrawal" rider, which would authorize funding only if there exists a plan to withdraw American ground troops by a set deadline, remains the most important - and controversial - rider. Riders may also significantly affect wartime policies, like those that limit the President's use of reservists in combat so as to make them available for use in domestic affairs. Finally, Congress may attach riders to legislation that conditions military and reconstruction aid on governance concessions by the Iraqi government to the Sunni minority.

Whether enduring the difficult process of enacting riders to is worth a speedier exit from Iraq remains secondary to the important constitutional and democratic issues raised by riders attached to appropriations and legislation. Highlighting the tension between Congress and the President, the author presents the Constitutional and legal arguments presented by presidential power supporters and counter arguments proffered by Congressional supporters.