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House may try to cut funds for Cheney

WASHINGTON – Responding to claims by Vice President Dick Cheney that his office is exempt from disclosing information about what it has classified as secret, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said Tuesday he will try to cut off the $4.8 million needed annually to run Cheney’s office and home.

Last week, Cheney claimed he is not bound to disclose some national security requirements because, as president of the Senate, he is not part of the executive branch.

On Tuesday, a Cheney spokesman accused House Democrats of playing politics.

The controversy stems from an order signed by President Bush in 2003 that required all executive agencies and “any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information” to report on what it had classified.

Cheney, as first reported in the Chicago Tribune last year, has not disclosed that information. The vice president came under increasing scrutiny last week when Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., released documents highlighting Cheney’s failure to report the information and the vice president’s suggestion that the oversight office be closed rather than that he be forced to disclose the classification.

Emanuel’s proposal would be attached as an amendment to a spending bill that includes funding of the executive branch and which is expected to be considered by the House as early as tonight. The amendment proposes that no executive funds be used for the vice president’s office, including any money for Cheney’s vice presidential residence.

“He’s not part of the executive branch. We’re not going to fund something that doesn’t exist,” said Emanuel, who is also the House Democratic Caucus chairman. “I’m following through on the vice president’s logic, no matter how ludicrous it might be.”

Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn retorted, “I think it is sad that Congressman Emanuel would rather focus on partisan politics than the serious issues facing our country.”