Thursday, January 31, 2008

Signing Statements

In the flood of things that the Bush Administration has done that are terrible, you can lose track of one piece here or there. John Dickerson's piece I referenced a couple of posts ago mentioned signing statements, which I must say jogged my memory a bit. Turns out the president is still using them in full force.

George Bush's signing statement frenzy has now reached epic proportions:

President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.

....One section Bush targeted created a statute that forbids spending taxpayer money "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq" or "to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

The Bush administration is negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The agreement is to include the basing of US troops in Iraq after 2008, as well as security guarantees and other economic and political ties between the United States and Iraq.

As recently as a year ago the White House at least acknowledged that Congress had the power to defund military activities if it wished. In fact, their argument, essentially, was that funding was pretty much the only power Congress had over military and foreign policy. Now, apparently, they think Congress doesn't even have that.

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