Another Signing Statement…The Decider’s pen strikes again

Froomkin links to anAir Force Times article on Bush’s signing statement attached to 2007 Defense Authorization Act which Bush signed on October 17. While Bush “listed two dozen provisions in the act that he indicated he may or may not abide by” the most important would regard war funding in Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress wanted that war funding to be included in the defense budget rather than through supplementals and bridge funds. The section of the bill regarding that is cited in the signing statement. From the AFT article..

Among the provisions is Section 1008 of the Authorization Act, which requires the president to submit defense budgets for 2008 and beyond that include funding for the wars and contain “a detailed justification of the funds requested.”


Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he “would not be surprised” if Bush ignores the budgeting requirements spelled out in Section 1008.

“I’m very dubious he will abide by it. He has ignored it before,” the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said during an Oct. 18 press conference.

Levin said the measure was “a strong bipartisan statement” that Congress wants responsible budgeting. He said the administration has made a practice of “irresponsible budgeting” for the war since it began in 2003.

The wars have been paid for through emergency spending bills and “bridge funds” that amount to about $450 billion so far.


The statement says: “Several provisions of the act call for executive branch officials to submit to the Congress recommendations for legislation, or purport to regulate the manner in which the President formulates recommendations to the Congress for legislation.”

It goes on to say, “The executive branch shall construe these provisions in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as the President deems necessary and expedient.”

Congressional aides said that appears to mean the president will decide whether or not he must comply with the provisions.

“Basically, what the administration is saying to Congress is: ‘You’ve told us what you want, now we’re going to tell you what we’re going to do,'” said Christopher Hellman, director of the Project on Military Spending Oversight.


A key congressional complaint about war funding through supplementals and bridge funds is that lawmakers see far fewer details about how the money will be spent, and supplementals must be approved by appropriations committees, but not by authorizing committees. Regular defense budgets must be approved by both.

So anyideas of ending the war by cutting the funding well…—–

10 thoughts on “Another Signing Statement…The Decider’s pen strikes again

  1. Well, since Bush has yet to arrogate to himself the power to levy taxes and spend money as he sees fit to “supervise the unitary executive branch,” we can only hope a change in Congress will mean that no further “supplementals” and “bridge funds” will be forthcoming after January.
    Although, frankly, I’m not holding my breath.

  2. So at what point does this become quite literally a violation of law, and therefore, a “high crime” or “misdemeanor”?

  3. Uhh, Scout, when we retake Congress, we’ll control the appropriations committees.
    And that will be the end of that.

  4. Well, much as we might like to…
    Successfully impeach Bush and you have Cheney as President. Then successfully impeach Cheney and (currently) you get Denny Hastert as President. Wait a couple months and (we hope) that you would then get President Pelosi. That would be OK, but…
    To impeach someone “sucessfully”, ie. impeach AND convict (such that they are removed from office) takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate. And in the wildest of our wild dreams for Nov. 7th, nobody thinks the Dems are going to get anywhere near that.

  5. Bu$hCo thinks they are safe in ignoring the laws that in any manner deal with national security, because they know that few Congresspeople will oppose any war-related or intelligence-related funding. It is really catch 22, as Rove/Cheney/Bush/GOP play the game.
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get around this problem, and here’s one potential approach that might work.
    Congress can pass laws that make certain appropriations contingent on other non-related actions by the administration. So, then the game becomes one of identifying things that Bush/Cheney want to maintain or expand and dramaticallly cutting the budgets on these items unless Bush observes the letter and intent of the law on other matters, like national security/defense accountability.
    For example, how about a 90% cut in the budget of the Office of the VP and the White House counsel’s office, unless…?
    How about a law that forbids use of Air Force One or other government aircraft on any trip that has any connection whatsover, even if incidental, with political campaigning or election fund raising, unless…?
    How about elimination of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, unless…?
    How about a law that would prevent the temporary transfer or assignment of personnel or funds from one department or agency to another agency that has been identified by Congress to be the target of any of the programs above, unless…?
    How about a law that requires the President and VP (and not a surrogate) to appear in a monthy joint session of Congress to answer the questions of Congresspersons and Senators (like Question Time, in the UK parliament), unless… [I kind of like the sound of a First Thursday of each month question time for two hours.]
    The ‘power of the purse’ is the ultimate check on executive overreach, and we must find a way to make this power politically and practically effective without fear of the Rovian retaliation that direct funding threats on key programs would have.

  6. So when the president just comes out and says “I’m going to ignore the Constitution and the laws”, what is Congress supposed to do?

  7. it’s the PRICIPLE! and i am DAMNED sure the sheeple would be PLENTY happy with it.

  8. “Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he ‘would not be surprised’ if Bush ignores the budgeting requirements spelled out in Section 1008.”
    I simply do not understand why people bow down before this evil. Is this how Hitler did it?

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