The title is another exercise in ridiculous spin, but the content is interesting:
Obama to limit signing statements on bills
So, Obama criticizes Bush for using signing statements, and then turns around and announces that he will do the exact same thing, but says that he plans to do it less.President Obama promised Monday that he would rarely impose his own interpretation of legislation by attaching statements when he signs bills, pulling back significantly from the controversial use of the tactic by his predecessor, George W. Bush.
Funny, because that's the exact same rationale that Bush used for issuing his signing statements. I guess it's okay now though, because it's Obama instead of Bush."There is no doubt that the practice of issuing such statements can be abused," Obama said in the memo. "I will issue signing statements to address constitutional concerns only when it is appropriate to do so as a means of discharging my constitutional responsibilities."
Some aren't buying it though:
And to be fair, Obama didn't pledge to get rid of them entirely:Longtime Bush critics, however, excoriated Obama for failing to put a complete end to the practice.
"There should be a clean break with the past on this," said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union. "The president shouldn't be asserting - as President Bush did - wholesale objections to entire sections of statutes and claiming some kind of presidential authority to ignore them."
Anders said his group appreciates Obama's pledge to reduce the number of signing statements. But he said the danger remains that, instead of using the statements to provide guidance to government officials, the new president could use them to ignore the will of the Congress.
Former Bush administration officials said they could detect little difference between Obama's promise and Bush's standards for issuing signing statements.
"This has been a standard practice going back decades. It's just when President Bush did it, his critics pounced," said former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. "They're going to do the same thing, whenever they feel like it."
Both presidential candidates last year criticized Bush for the practice. Obama accused Bush of attempting to change the meaning of legislation and of trying to thwart enforcement of some statutes. But Obama did not pledge to get rid of the practice, saying at the time that its limited use could help protect a president's "constitutional prerogatives."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said during the campaign that he would never issue a signing statement as president. "Never, never, never, never. If I disagree with a law that passed, I'll veto it," he told the Washington Post.