Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Obama's first signing statement

"Facing strong opposition from lawmakers with large Cuban-American constituencies, the Obama administration pledged - - in writing - - that changes to U.S.-Cuba policy tucked into the giant 2009 spending bill will have no teeth. . . . In a quest to secure two of the votes from senators who had vowed to block the entire budget bill, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner assured Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida and Bob Menendez of New Jersey that the government would interpret the new law so strictly that it will be ineffective. . . . The administration's apparent willingness to buck the intent of Congress surprised many Cuba-watchers."

When Nixon did this, it was called an impeachable offense.

When Bush did this, it was called an unconstitutional "signing statement".

When Obama does it? "Geithner's letter opened the administration up to the same criticism Obama has lobbed at Bush, who used presidential ''signing statements'' to declare that he would interpret legislative provisions his way. Asked about the practice Tuesday at the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs said: ``It's like a presidential signing statement, except it's not the president, and it's not a signing statement.''"

I'll let you know when we hear from the constitutional scholars who were shocked and appalled by the Nixon and Bush practices. Don't hold your breath.

No comments: