Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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All The Statements that Are Fit to Sign

What irritates me about this story is not so much that Obama has broken another promise—I expect that.  It’s what he’s broken a promise over:

In a statement issued Friday night, President Obama took issue with some provisions in the budget bill – and in one case simply says he will not abide by it.

Last week the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans were involved in intense negotiations over not only the size of the budget for the remainder of the FY2011 budget, and spending cuts within that budget, but also several GOP “riders,” or policy provisions attached to the bill.

One rider – Section 2262—de-funds certain White House adviser positions – or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.

I don’t know the history enough to know where the Constitution ends up on this.  Congress controls the purse strings, but the President control the executive.  But that’s a fight for the Courts or the floor of Congress.  For the President to essentially line-item veto a provision—and not really for a Constitutional reason—is the sort of thing we used to deservedly bash up Bush for.

And this is what Obama breaks his promise for?  White House czars?  Really?  There’s nothing more objectionable that Congress has done in the last two years that he could have broken that pledge on?  He’ll tolerate the destruction of the DC voucher program, let stand provisions on prisoner treatment, countenance endless encroachments on personal and economic liberty ... but, by gum, he won’t put up them with telling Ron Blum to take a hike.  This time, Congress has gone too far!

Lee’s words are looking more prophetic with each day.  The powers that Bush assumed were not the problem: it was the power he passed on to his successor, power that successor is more than eager to embrace.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/19/11 at 11:14 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 04/19/11 at 02:01 PM from United States

If I remember correctly, and there’s NO guarantee of that, the President originally had virtually no budget whatsoever.  His staff and advisers were all paid out of his pocket.  Certainly that’s changed, and it should, but it’s like school “administrators” these days.  We have more advisers to those how govern than we have people who are governed.  An exaggeration, yes, but you get the point.

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 02:51 PM from United States

The powers that Bush assumed were not the problem: it was the power he passed on to his successor, power that successor is more than eager to embrace.

It was Bill Clinton who provided the sour after taste for signing statements, he issued many more than Bush.And It was Bernard Nussbaum (special counsel to President Clinton) who legitimized the use of these statements with the imprimatur of the justice dept. Clinton’s passage of the Line Item Veto Act (later overturned as unconstitutional) was another push in this direction.

Many legal scholars describe the modern signing statement as a de facto line-item veto, as the President is, in essence, stating that he will not execute certain portions of a bill, even though legally he is forced to either sign an entire bill or send Congress a veto. But the appeal of signing statements is obvious, by not allowing Congress the opportunity to override a veto, creating law despite Presidential objection, signing statements seem to then drastically reduce legislative control in the process.

It is also interesting that the people grousing over this practice is the minority party (that which does not hold the office)acceptable for me, but not for thee.

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 05:11 PM from United States

It was wrong when Bush did it and its wrong when Obama does it.  A president can say or write anything he wants about a law, but a signing statement does not make law.  Seems borderline impeachable ("protect and defend the Constitution” and all that).

Posted by on 04/19/11 at 10:03 PM from United States

Hal- I’ve linked to this fact, in comments, twice in the last week 4/15 and 4/17.

Posted by on 04/20/11 at 12:56 PM from United States

The powers that Bush assumed were not the problem: it was the power he passed on to his successor, power that successor is more than eager to embrace.

Except that Bush didn’t have a compliant media to cover for him as Obama has now. Also, a lot of what Bush is being “blamed” for in signing statements, were largely general statements regarding what could be reasonably characterized as Congressional overreach.. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Bush never explicitly line-item vetoed during a signing statement specific spending cuts called for in a Congressional budget as Obama is doing here, did he? Any comparable example where Bush flatly rejected Congressional enactment where Congress is on firm footing with their authority as Obama is doing here on a budget-cutting matter? I’m quibbling over this, because it seems like a false equivalence is being asserted.

Posted by on 04/21/11 at 01:31 AM from United States

The powers that Bush assumed were not the problem: it was the power he passed on to his successor, power that successor is more than eager to embrace.

argumentum ad hominem - loosely translated; but he did toooo!

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