Obama Breaks Own Signing Rules; Critics Called Mistaken on Statements

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 24, 2009 | Go to article overview

Obama Breaks Own Signing Rules; Critics Called Mistaken on Statements


Byline: S.A. Miller and Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Obama failed to consult Congress, as promised, before carving out exceptions to the omnibus spending bill he signed into law - breaking his own signing-statement rules two days after issuing them - and raised questions among lawmakers and committees who say the president's objections are unclear at best and a power grab at worst.

In at least one case, lawmakers charge, Mr. Obama used his first signing statement, on the catch-all $410 billion spending bill, to go beyond the Bush and Clinton administrations in swatting away Congress' attempt to protect whistleblowers.

Not only is your signing statement contrary to your campaign statements, it also goes beyond the traditional broad signing statements authored by previous presidents, said Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican and a leader in pushing for whistleblower protections, who wrote a letter saying Mr. Obama goes after those who divulge classified information to Congress.

White House spokesman Bill Burton acknowledged the administration didn't follow its rules this time on working with Congress, but disputed Mr. Grassley's stance, saying the administration is committed to whistleblower protections but the spending bill goes too far.

Mr. Burton said under the spending bill's language, administration officials who talk about classified or national security material or issues covered by executive privilege would be protected. He said the White House's more limited interpretation is consistent with how former President Bill Clinton construed whistleblower protections, and pointed to a signing statement Mr. Clinton issued Sept. 29, 1999, as evidence.

The president's signing statement does not purport to control or limit legitimate whistleblowing activities. Nor is it intended to break new ground on this issue, Mr. Burton said.

Signing statements date back to the 1800s, but became a heated issue when critics accused former President George W. Bush of using them to carve out parts of laws he would ignore on policy grounds, rather than simply lay out separation-of-powers conflicts between the executive and legislature.

On March 9, Mr. Obama issued new rules designed to cut down on statements. He promised to work with Congress in advance to work out objections and decrease the need for a signing statement, said he would be specific in his objections when he does issue a statement, and would act with caution and restraint.

Two days later, on March 11, Mr. Obama issued his first statement, listing objections to at least 10 provisions and citing five constitutional grounds.

The objections ranged from very specific to fairly broad, including interfering with the chief executive's right to negotiate on foreign affairs; misconstruing the military chain of command by forcing him to get sign-off from military commanders for certain U.N. peacekeeping missions; and making some executive decisions subject to pre-approval by congressional committees or advisory boards with congressional members. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Obama Breaks Own Signing Rules; Critics Called Mistaken on Statements
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.