Articles

Signing Statements

In U.S government on July 10, 2009 by Editor Z

Even though congress repeatedly disgracefully cowered in the face of the Bush/Cheney administration’s amassing of power through the use of executive signing statements, the congress by an astounding bi-partisan margin of 429-2 passed a resolution that would withhold funds from the Obama administration that the congress will withhold funding for any treasury department related action that seeks to ignore the pushing of stricter environmental and labor standards as well as the issuing of a report by the treasury department on the state of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as conditions on funding for the two global financial institutions that are contained in the latest war supplemental.

In other words Congress is sick and tired of the Executive Branch using signing statements to defy statutes passed by Congress and thus the will of the people.

The conditions on World Bank and IMF funding were part of the $106 billion war supplemental bill that was passed last month. Obama, in a statement made as he signed the bill, said that he would ignore the conditions.

They would “interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions,” Obama said in the signing statement.

Senior Democrats and Republicans railed against the notion that the president could ignore a law they had passed and he had signed.

“We do this not just on behalf of this institution, but on behalf of this democracy,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). “There’s kind of a unilateralism, an undemocratic, unreachable way about these signing statements.”

President George W. Bush had used signing statements to ignore a number of provisions in bills that he signed into law, frustrating Democrats in Congress. One Bush signing statement allowed the administration to ignore a provision banning the torture of terror detainees in situations threatening the nation’s security.

Frank and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Texas) said that one way they could get presidents to stop issuing signing statements casting aside laws would be to refuse to fund their priorities. The amendment passed Thursday seeks to nullify Obama’s signing statement by withholding funds from any agreement involving the Treasury Department that doesn’t follow the conditions set out in the supplemental bill.

A victory for transparency, openess, and truth in governance. I have to say Obama the candidate would have approved, unfortunatly through some of his actions as of late it appears that Obama the candidate and Obama the President are at odds. When will he realize what he had said on the campaign trail is true. There is a culture and a penchant for secrecy in the Executive branch of government that has developed, where to keep the people informed is treachery, that the limits of the Constitution and checks and balances don’t apply to them, and that the Executive Branch is becoming too large and taking on more functions then it can compitatently perform or should neither have nor want in a society such as ours, while simaltaneously atrophying the powers of oversight and congress. It is the maintaining of power for powers sake and its somethinmg Obama the candidate railed against.

It is doing away with exercises in secrecy and bloated unchecked executive power in addition to the War in Iraq that I and so many others cast a ballot for Obama in November. If we wanted these measures of secrecy to continue as the people, our votes would have reflected that in a selection of a candidate who had such views. Unfortunately no matter how secretive, unaccountable, and bloated the Executive branch gets, history shows it is not often that they relinquish power to the other two branches and cling to that power and secrecy under the guise of Presidential prerogative.

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