# News Bush signing statements -slipping past the public

1. Sep 30, 2006

### edward

For every bill passed by congress a president has the option to add to, or take away from that bill. Bush has set a new record.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/04/30/examples_of_the_presidents_signing_statements/

For the first time in my life I feel that there is an irreversable change empowering the executive branch. And it is happening in ways that I previously would have read only in a work of fiction.

Last edited: Sep 30, 2006
2. Sep 30, 2006

### Rach3

Astonishing! He is absolutely fearless in his pursuit of an alternative reality of law. So he does, in fact, reserve the right to torture whenever he feels like it, whatever Congress says. Horrific! Look at this one:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/04/30/examples_of_the_presidents_signing_statements/

There you go - he censors scientific research, he admits it proudly!

3. Sep 30, 2006

### Rach3

4. Sep 30, 2006

### edward

The American bar association thinks that the statements are unconstitutional also.

http://commonlaw.findlaw.com/2006/07/legal_group_bus.html

Bush has signed more than all previous presidents combined. There is a definite advantage to having the Attorney General in ones hip pocket.

5. Sep 30, 2006

### edward

This is just one paragraph of a signing statement.

The bill signed was:
"H.R. 2863, the "Department of Defense, Emergency Supplemental Appropriations to Address Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Pandemic Influenza Act, 2006"

The full signing staement is located at:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/12/20051230-8.html [Broken]

Some of this is business as usuall in D.C. Because politicians are allowed to mix oranges and apples in that they frequently include something in a bill that has nothing to do with that bill. But it also is a good example of how missuse of signing statements can allow potential nefarious actions to be slipped past the scrutiny of the general public.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
6. Oct 2, 2006

### Amp1

This is a prime example of why the founding Fathers included checkes and balances on the branches of government. Bush is blatantly violating them.

7. Oct 2, 2006

### devil-fire

how in any situation can censoring scienfic information from congress in any way impair national security? i can think of some creative ways this could be abused but i cant think of any positive uses for this

8. Jan 4, 2007

### BobG

Yet another example; this one from December 20th for a bill so boring the signing and its accompanying statement slipped by without notice.

The bill, the http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/77xx/doc7709/hr6407pgo.pdf [Broken]. The first two pages capture the essence of the changes: changes to pensions and health care of postal workers.

The http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/12/20061220-6.html [Broken]. The sixth paragraph "construes" that federal officials may open the mail without a warrant.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
9. Jan 5, 2007

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
H.R. 6407, the "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act" has to do with the expenditures of the Postal Service, so where does Bush come off with interpreting Title 39 of the US Code.
Well - reading USC 39, 404 - there is no 404(c)! But then that could be an out-of-date version, or is Bush making things up, or is there an error in the Whitehouse publication?

For that matter, there is no 1010(e)!
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+39USC1010 [Broken]

And there is no 404 in 49CFR - http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/49cfrv5_99.html [Broken]

nor is there 1010 in 49 CFR - http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/49cfrv6_99.html#1000

I guess making up laws is not so important. Besides, the legislative branch is supposed to enact laws and the presidential authority is limited to agreeing (signing) or disagreeing (vetoing) with the law.

Edit: 49 CFR is wrong.

But there is no 404 or 1010 in 39 CFR either - http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_00/39cfrv1_00.html

So the Title 49 refers to US Code.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
10. Jan 5, 2007

### D H

Staff Emeritus
HR 6407 created a 404(c): From http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h109-6407" [Broken]
SEC. 102. POSTAL SERVICES.

(a) IN GENERAL- Section 404 of title 39, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in subsection (a), by striking paragraph (6) and by redesignating paragraphs (7) through (9) as paragraphs (6) through (8), respectively; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

(c)(1) In this subsection, the term nonpostal service' means any service that is not a postal service defined under section 102(5).

(2) Nothing in this section shall be considered to permit or require that the Postal Service provide any nonpostal service, except that the Postal Service may provide nonpostal services which were offered as of January 1, 2006, as provided under this subsection.

(3) Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the Postal Regulatory Commission shall review each nonpostal service offered by the Postal Service on the date of enactment of that Act and determine whether that nonpostal service shall continue, taking into account--

(A) the public need for the service; and

(B) the ability of the private sector to meet the public need for the service.

(4) Any nonpostal service not determined to be continued by the Postal Regulatory Commission under paragraph (3) shall terminate.

(5) If the Postal Regulatory Commission authorizes the Postal Service to continue a nonpostal service under this subsection, the Postal Regulatory Commission shall designate whether the service shall be regulated under this title as a market dominant product, a competitive product, or an experimental product.'.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
11. Jan 5, 2007

### BobG

That's because it's Title 39, not 49. Actually, my original link was to the cost estimate rather than the actual bill. The actual bill, HR 6407, has the applicable info: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c109:3:./temp/~c109seu8Yp:e203378: [Broken]

Section 1010(e) of the bill does change section 404 to:

Boldface section is the section that Bush 'clarified' in his signing statement.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
12. Jan 5, 2007

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Ack! My mistake. I linked to USC 39 - but typed 49.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
13. Jan 5, 2007

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Bushes signing statement -
I don't see how the administration can legally do a search without a warrant when the law as enacted by Congress clearly requires a warrant. Basically, if exigent circumstances means that the government can intercept and open mail without warrant, then Bush is arguing that he can overide the public law at his discretion.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
14. Jan 5, 2007

### Jimmy Snyder

The Attorney General is appointed by and serves at the discretion of the President. All Presidents have enjoyed this advantage.

15. Jan 5, 2007

### BobG

We're in a war against terror - a long war that could last decades. That's exigent circumstances that will last quite a long time.

16. Jan 5, 2007

### edward

It could easily last decades, but exactly how does the administration define exigent circumstances. So far they seem to have their own definition of everything. Does exigent apply to a bunch of kids planning a war protest? My opinion is that with the Bush administration, yes it does.

17. Jan 5, 2007

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
My understanding of these things is that they are basically a way for a president to express dissent, but they are not themselves enforceable as legislation. The real issue would be if he actually broke the law and followed what he wrote in the signing statements instead. Simply saying he has a right that he doesn't actually have isn't that big of a deal, but exercising a right he doesn't have is.

18. Jan 5, 2007

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
I disagree.

From Charlie Savage's article which broke the signing statement story:

So here's the deal: this single signing statement sends any potential whistleblower back into his/her closet and the point of passing the whistleblower protections in the bill has been essentially nullified.

That's one reason that makes it quite big of a deal.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/04/30/bush_challenges_hundreds_of_laws/?page=1

Last edited: Jan 5, 2007
19. Jan 7, 2007

### loseyourname

Staff Emeritus
Is there any history of a president actually doing what he says he can do in a signing statement? I can certainly think of instances of a president disregarding legislation or court rulings he doesn't like, but has it ever happened because of a signing statement? It seems to me that something like this:

Is a much bigger deal. In a case like this, he is actually disregarding the law entirely and just doing whatever he pleases. Its actions like this that raise a concern. Signing statements themselves are nothing new and do not give him this authority. I ask in part because of the date on this article. I remember when this first came a while back and it was one of those "issues of the day," and it was quickly forgotten and never seemed much of a deal.

Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
20. Jan 13, 2007

### Rach3

It's worse than we thought!

http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/images/scientific_integrity/Finalist9.jpg [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
21. Apr 17, 2007

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Pulitzer Winner Explains 'Signing Statements' Story
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9621251

http://www.boston.com/news/specials/savage_signing_statements/