The Problem With President Obama's Signing Statement
Since Democrats and others (including me) spent a great deal of time criticizing President Bush for issuing a recordbreaking number of signing statements, it seems necessary to consider President Obama's signing statement issued in relation to the recently enacted Omnibus Spending Bill. TPM has the relevant passage:
Numerous provisions of the legislation purport to condition the authority of officers to spend or reallocate funds on the approval of congressional committees. These are impermissible forms of legislative aggrandizement in the execution of the laws other than by enactment of statutes. . . . Yet another provision requires the Secretary of the Treasury to accede to all requests of a Board of Trustees that contains congressional representatives. The Secretary shall treat such requests as nonbinding.
I think the signing statement is defensible in one aspect and indefensible in another. It appears to be asserting that the provisions in question are a form of legislative veto which the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional in the case INS v. Chadha. In one aspect, this claim seems well established and moored to clear Supreme Court precedent. In another, I think it is unmoored and indefensible. I'll explain why I think so on the flip.
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