Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gasp: Signing Statements

The Democratic Congress is in a massive snit with President Obama over signing statements. You may recall that George W. Bush used signing statements with great profligacy to thwart the will of Congress, and now Obama is doing the same thing. Well, forget the profligacy part, he's done it twice, but Congress is nonetheless in a major case of the vapours over it.

Seems Obama promised to contribute $108 billion to the IMF, which turned out to be a little rash since he had not yet asked Congress about it. Congress reluctantly said okay (they don't like the IMF), but said that he had to impose some restrictions on the money. He signed the bill, but in a signing statement said he wasn't bound by the limitations.

Congress was so massively pissed off that the House passed a new bill overriding his signing statement by a vote of 492-2 429-2 last week. I'm not sure, but I don't think that's ever been done before. They also sent him a letter that if he uses one of those atrocious signing statements again they will cut off the funds in question altogether, which would be just a little bit embarrassing for the President.

What is interesting to me is that George W. undoubtedly used a whole herd of signing statements with this same Democratic-controlled Congress, and we never heard a whimper. But let President Obama, a member of their own party, do it and they are in a state of righteous indignation like some sort of jilted bride.

Congress is just plain weird.

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