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Now Obama Likes Signing Statements

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement

By ANNE FLAHERTY (AP) – WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has irked close allies in Congress by declaring he has the right to ignore legislation on constitutional grounds after having criticized George W. Bush for doing the same.

Four senior House Democrats on Tuesday said they were "surprised" and "chagrined" by Obama’s declaration in June that he doesn’t have to comply with provisions in a war spending bill that puts conditions on aid provided to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

In a signing statement accompanying the $106 billion bill, Obama said he wouldn’t allow the legislation to interfere with his authority as president to conduct foreign policy and negotiate with other governments.

Earlier in his six-month-old administration, Obama issued a similar statement regarding provisions in a $410 billion omnibus spending bill. He also included qualifying remarks when signing legislation that established commissions to govern public lands in New York, investigate the financial crisis and celebrate Ronald Reagan’s birthday.

"During the previous administration, all of us were critical of (Bush’s) assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes he was required to enforce," the Democrats wrote in their letter to Obama. "We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude."

The letter was signed by Reps. David Obey of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, as well as Reps. Nita Lowey and Gregory Meeks, both of New York, who chair subcommittees on those panels…

Bush issued a record number of signing statements while in office as he sparred with Democrats on such big issues as the war in Iraq.

Democrats, including Obama, sharply criticized Bush as overstepping his bounds as president. In March, Obama ordered a review of Bush’s guidelines for implementing legislation.

"There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused," Obama wrote in a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies.

At the same time, however, Obama did not rule out issuing any signing statements, which have been used for centuries. Rather, he ordered his administration to work with Congress to inform lawmakers about concerns over legality before legislation ever reaches his desk. He also pledged to use caution and restraint when writing his own signing statements, and said he would rely on Justice Department guidance when doing so.

Two days after issuing the memo, Obama issued his first signing statement exerting executive power after receiving a $410 billion omnibus spending bill. He said the bill would "unduly interfere" with his authority by directing him how to proceed, or not to, in negotiations and discussions with international organizations and foreign governments…

Note how now the Associated Press informs us that signing statements “have been used for centuries.”

Lest we forget, this was what Mr. Obama was saying all throughout the campaign and even as recently as last March.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Obama rejects Bush’s signing statements

He orders officials to ignore the previous president’s written assertions that raised constitutional objections to legislation. Obama says he will limit his own use of such statements.

By Frank James
March 10, 2009

Reporting from Washington — In another effort to undo acts by the previous administration, President Obama issued a memo Monday instructing executive branch officials to ignore Bush administration signing statements, the written assertions presidents sometimes make when signing bills that raise constitutional questions.

At the same time, Obama cited the guidelines he would follow in issuing his own signing statements.

He signaled that, unlike President George W. Bush, he would not use signing statements to do end runs around Congress.

According to one count, Bush issued 161 signing statements in which he cast doubt on more than 1,000 provisions in legislation and essentially stated his intention to ignore those parts of the law.

President Clinton issued significantly more signing statements, but Bush was more aggressive in making claims that the legislation in question would undermine presidential authority.

Bush’s signing statements were viewed by many critics, Republican and Democratic alike, as another attempt to expand the scope of presidential power. Bush didn’t publicize them, however, and for much of his presidency, the public was largely unaware of this practice.

Obama’s memo was a renunciation of this practice, which he had criticized during the presidential campaign.

"In recent years, there has been considerable public discussion and criticism of the use of signing statements to raise constitutional objections to statutory provisions," Obama’s memo said. "There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused.

"Constitutional signing statements should not be used to suggest that the president will disregard statutory requirements on the basis of policy disagreements," the memo continued.

Obama acknowledged, however, that a president could legitimately use signing statements. He said he would work with Congress to limit his use of such statements and would specify his objections to legislation to ensure greater transparency.

But that was then, and this is now.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Now Obama Likes Signing Statements”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    What a two faced, hypocritical, racist, closet muslim and social dreg this hunk of monkey spunk is!!

    He is beyond reproach and a mirror worshiper, too!!

  2. proreason says:

    We knew it was a lie.


    He said it.

  3. wardmama4 says:

    Does this not bother a single Democrat (not to mention each and every citizen) that he is turning on the his own party? – I mean they are the majority of the House and Senate, so therefore the majority of what is passed – is passed with their approval? Perhaps this is why even Franks signed on – with that kind of attitude – why, the Klownposse in DC just might become unnecessary under an even bigger power grabber than evilbushitlerburtonco.

    Funny – the shoe is even more uncomfortable when it your shoe – isn’t it?

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    This o-blah-blah dude is one grandiose little punk.

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