Theodore's World: Democrats Irked By Obama Signing Statement

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July 22, 2009

Democrats Irked By Obama Signing Statement

Democrats irked by Obama signing statement



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 6-month-old administration, Obama issued a signing statement regarding provisions in a $410 billion omnibus spending bill.

"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.

Obey and Frank in particular are needed by Obama to push through Congress key pieces of his agenda, including health care and financial oversight reform.

The White House said Tuesday the administration plans to implement the provisions of the bill and suggested that Obama's signing statement was aimed more at defending the president's executive powers than skirting the law.
"The president has also already made it clear that he will not ignore statutory obligations on the basis of policy disagreements and will reserve signing statements for legislation that raises clearly identified constitutional concerns," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement.

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 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.

Obey and the other House lawmakers said this week that Obama's signing statement on the war bill will make it tougher in the future to persuade other lawmakers to support the World Bank and IMF.

If Congress can't place conditions on the money, "it will make it virtually impossible to provide further allocations for these institutions," they wrote.

Wild Thing's comment...........

It seems the dems never thought they’d get the ‘We won!’ line used on them.

Posted by Wild Thing at July 22, 2009 07:47 AM


Ah yes the dictator speaks from the bully pulpit. How do you Democrats like being knaves and scalawags? Obama thinks less of the fools that surround him than he does of his opponents, welcome to Communism.
I saw two Obama stickers on two vehicles yesterday, there are some who still believe in the Messiah. I have a fishing buddy, he's a biker type and a red blooded American, I went fishing day before yesterday, we never caught a thing but we solved the country's woes, it was a great day and I needed the support. I'm surrounded by the reds and this guy isn't either party, he's a true self sufficient, self reliant independent.

Posted by: Jack at July 22, 2009 12:41 PM

He stole the pulpit and threw away the script or is in the process of burning it.

Posted by: Mark at July 22, 2009 07:24 PM

Jack, I never thought we would have a
dictator but we sure have one now.

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 22, 2009 08:51 PM

Mark, I bet he would love to burn the

Posted by: Wild Thing at July 22, 2009 08:52 PM