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President Obama is treading deeper and deeper into the morass of the Unitary Executive.  The Hill is reporting that yesterday he issued a signing statement on the war supplemental bill, ignoring legislation that required him to negotiate for strong environmental and labor standards.

The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"Provisions of this bill...would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions," Obama said in a statement.

"I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations," he added.

Is that what I voted for when I was promised that he, as a former Constitutional Law professor, was better suited than anyone else to remedy the corrosive effects of the reign of unitary executive power that Bush had established?  I don't think so.  I wanted a President whose constitutional teachings instructed him to follow the constitution, not to use his knowledge to interpret it to increase his own power.

And is it any surprise that the items he chooses to unconstitutionally ignore are the provisions which promote progressive labor and environmental values over the interests of globalization and big business?  Provisions that would require Tim Geithner to be more transparent to Congress and the American people?

It isn't surprising at all.  Civil liberty advocates, open goverment advocates, and labor advocates have all been, to a greater or lesser extent, thrown under the bus by this administration, while Rubinomics rules the day.

Perversely, we now have to hope that Congress, which before always quailed before Bush's power grabs, will have more of a spine and will challenge Obama's signing statements.  When it comes to overreaching executive power, it doesn't matter which party is in the White House.  We need Congress to challenge this action, and we need the Supreme Court to lay down the law and declare the President's actions unconstitutional.

Originally posted to El Yoss on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:18 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Tips/Donuts

    The war for oil is a war for the Beast The War on Terror is a war on peace

    by El Yoss on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:18:42 AM PDT

  •  LOL, Obama follows bush (32+ / 0-)

    He has everyright as every pres before him to stop congress from overstepping their constitutional bounds when it comes to dealing with foreign govts. There were several provisions in that bill that did just that.

  •  Seems like mostly a bad provision (4+ / 0-)

    other than that no comment

  •  It's not breaking news (9+ / 0-)

    The last President used to do this type of stuff all the time.

    ~sigh~

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:24:47 AM PDT

  •  First, he never said (33+ / 0-)

    he would never use signing statements.  Second, I agree with him on this one Congress shouldn't be dictating terms of a negotiation before the negotiation happens.  The President negotiates treaties and the Congress approves or denies them.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by IL JimP on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:25:34 AM PDT

    •  The point is not whether you, I or anyone else... (10+ / 0-)

      ...agrees with him on this or not. Ends do not justify means and in this case It just so happens I do not like his ends. But even if I did I'd still say it is an unconstitutional act like the many Bush should have been impeached over.

      If he doesn’t like the language of the bill he should veto it and send it back to Congress and try to defend his slap at labor...but he apparently hasn’t the balls for straightforward action and would rather break the law in usurping the power and authority of Congress. One act or fifty it's the same damned thing and just one more way he is behaving like Bush, he's just one hell of a lot slicker.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:39:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (9+ / 0-)

      He did say he wouldn't use signing statements to get around laws he doesn't like

      1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

      Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.

      I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like

      link

      Democracy is not about blind faith, it is about skepticism!

      by ppl can fly on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:40:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bullshit, this is not existing law (23+ / 0-)

        This is a matter of constitutional bounds. Congress has no business negotiating treaties, that is the responsibilty of the executive branch. No president will tolerate this blatant breach of constitutional bounds. The President is spot on here

        •  thank you n/t (6+ / 0-)

          They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

          by IL JimP on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:47:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bullshit yourself. (6+ / 0-)

          Read the Constitution.  There is no provision for signing statements: the president can veto a law he does not like, but there is nothing that justifies what you're saying.

          •  Neither authorized, nor forbidden (5+ / 0-)

            so the question's not whether presidents may issue them, rather how much weight they're to be given.

            In this instance, the Signing statement's effectively an advisory to the State Dept that the President thinks the Congress is overstepping, and notice to the Congress that if they disagree they should be seeking determination from the Courts.



            Practicing Law without a License is my 3d favorite Crime.

            by ben masel on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:34:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ninth Amendment (0+ / 0-)

              Text of Amendment:
              The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

              Why This Amendment Exists:
              When the Bill of Rights was first proposed, the major argument against it was that by specifying some rights that the government was not free to violate, there would be the implication that the government was free to violate any rights not specifically protected in the Constitution. The Ninth Amendment was written to address this concern.

              WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY FOX NEWS IS JOURNALISM

              by FakeNews on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:43:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's not constitutional. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobdevo, polar bear

              If a president thinks a bill is unconstitutional, he can veto it.  If he signs it, he does not have the authority to unilaterally determine which parts are or are not constitutional: that's a decision to be made by the courts.  If a president signs a bill and thinks part of it is unconstitutional, then it is up to him (or maybe someday her) to go to court.  Otherwise, we're back in unitary executive land.  And sure, Obama is way different than Bush in many ways, but that's not the point here.

      •  Not inconsistent. Further quotes: (9+ / 0-)

        "The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation," Obama answered. But, he added: "No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president's constitutional prerogatives."

        In her own Globe questionnaire, Clinton made a similar point about legal issues. "I would only use signing statements in very rare instances to note and clarify confusing or contradictory provisions, including provisions that contradict the Constitution," she wrote. "My approach would be to work with Congress to eliminate or correct unconstitutional provisions before legislation is sent to my desk."

        There's two points about signing statemetns: one is that Bush used them in bad faith.  The other is that Bush would actually SPRING an objection in a signing statement. IOW, for example, he would back a bill that had a combo of money plus controls over how he spent it, and after it passed, say the controls were illegal but keep the appropriation.  Congress would never have passed a number of bills if Bush hadn't basically ambushed them.

        At one point Obama promised to work with congress and let them knwo what he thought was unconst. first.

        Gov. Sanford is hiking the Appalachian Trail, and Franco is home nursing a head cold.

        by Inland on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:03:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And it does not appear (3+ / 0-)

        That he has done this:

        I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law.

        The provisions he commented on were about stances with respect to international negotiations, not US laws.

        In the age of the internet every citizen is the constituent of every elected official. It is SO easy to make small dollar donations now.

        by pvlb on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:40:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What Obama is arguing in the signing statement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ChurchofBruce

        is that the bill in its language is unconstitutional.

  •  Meet the new boss... (5+ / 0-)

    ...and he's supposed to be an authority on Constutional law and a Democtatic Party leader who backs labor.

    What a waste of a good mind...

    The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

    by Bobjack23 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:25:59 AM PDT

  •  Something that happened yesterday... (5+ / 0-)

    ...is not "Breaking."  In interwebs time, it's "creaking."

  •  What is with all this anti-Obama stuff today? (16+ / 0-)

    It almost seems like a coordinated attack on the man. I trust Obama, and am thrilled and proud that he is our president.

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:28:38 AM PDT

  •  This being the case: (8+ / 0-)

    "Provisions of this bill...would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions..."

    Obama, like every modern president before him will jealously guard his Constitutional authority.  Doubtless it would be cleaner for the President to simply veto bills that include elements of overstepping by the Congress. But the War Supplemental Bill? Given the politics of such a veto, not likely.

    Is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears' poncho? - Frank Zappa

    by JoesGarage on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:30:19 AM PDT

  •  Obama is right... (4+ / 0-)

    I think the provisions of the bill that require the president to negotiate environmental and worker protections into the IMF and WTO are probably unconstitutional... Historically (pre-Bush) such a situation would result in the President simply ignoring the law, someone applying for a writ of mandate (court order forcing action by executive), and the court issuing an order denying the application because the law is unconstitutional.  As the constitutional power to negotiate treaties is vested in the President, I think Obama is just cutting to the chase on this portion of the bill...

    As to Obama saying that the Treasury will not report... that is a crock of Sh** and Obama should be called on it... can anyone say, Test Case?

  •  Why don't you post what he said in the statement? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cwholcomb, askew, IL JimP, realityworld
  •  It is the purity trolls at it again. (11+ / 0-)

    Bush abused the use of signing statements. However, when congress starts to overstep and in this case interfere with the President's ability to negotiate with foreign governments, he should ignore those provisions

    •  I understand your frustration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, ppl can fly

      but can we stop with the name calling? Your not helping now.

    •  This completely misses the issue (0+ / 0-)

      when congress starts to overstep and in this case interfere with the President's ability to negotiate with foreign governments, he should ignore those provisions

      Whether this "provision" does or does not do that is something that the JUDICIAL branch is ENTITLED to an opinion on.  More to the point, Congress WAS APPROPRIATING MONEY in this bill and they certainly have EVERY right to insist that they are NOT appropriating the money to enable the executive branch to use it COUNTER to the purposes for which it was appropriated -- which certain KINDS of negotiations with foreign governments COULD DIRECTLY CAUSE.

      The constitutional issues here are real, and Congress should not have to go to the trouble of impeachment in order to air them.  It does bear stressing that IF Congress decides that ITS will has not been properly followed in this matter, NEITHER OF THE OTHER TWO BRANCHES WILL HAVE ANY RECOURSE WHATSOEVER !!
      Obama is going to WISH he had routed this through the judiciary if push ever comes to shove.

      The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

      by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 01:52:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually Obama only pledged to limit (32+ / 0-)

    signing statements, not to do away with them entirely. Hillary Clinton pledged the same thing as did John McCain.

    So, actually, yes this is what you voted for ... if you had been paying attention.

    "You Don't Do More With Less. You Do Less with Less. That's Why it's called Less." David Simon

    by Larry Madill on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:33:05 AM PDT

  •  In this case Obama is right (12+ / 0-)

    congress overstepped its powers. the executive has the authority on foreign affairs and here congress attempts to dictate how he ought to perform it.

  •  Only the President (12+ / 0-)

    has the power to negotiate treaties. I don't see how Congress can order the President to do something that is Constitutionally assigned to the Executive Branch. Congress can refuse to ratify a treaty if it doesn't approve of the terms negotiated by the President, but it cannot do the negotiations itself.

  •  You have oversimplified things. (19+ / 0-)

    Signing statements have been around since James Monroe and do NOT necessarily represent a return to Unitary Executive Theory.  While Bush abused them under the Unitary Executive theory, that does not mean that legislation as passed does not overstep Congressional bounds and impose undue burdens on the Executive.  In this case, by prescribing the positions which the President can take in negotiations, the Congress clearly overstepped its bounds.  

  •  The complete signing statement. (16+ / 0-)

    HR 2346

    Today I have signed into law H.R. 2346, the "Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009." This Act provides the necessary resources for our troops while supporting ongoing diplomatic and development efforts around the world.

    We face a security situation abroad that demands urgent attention. The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda is increasing its attacks from its safe haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The funding provided in this Act will ensure that the full force of the United States is engaged in an overall effort to defeat al Qaeda and uproot this safe haven.

    At the same time, funding contained in this Act will provide resources to help create political and economic stability in post-conflict areas. These funds will assist Afghans and Iraqis in protecting and sustaining their infrastructure and building their capacity for more responsive and transparent governance. The Act also provides critical support for continued U.S. diplomatic and development activity in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

    In addition, this Act includes funding for other domestic and international issues, including nearly $8 billion to enhance our Nation's capability to respond to the potential spread of the H1N1 flu outbreak. It also expands the resources available to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by allowing it to boost its lending ability. Many developing countries are experiencing severe economic decline and a massive withdrawal of capital, and the IMF needs to make sure it has the resources necessary to effectively respond to the current financial crisis.

    However, provisions of this bill within sections 1110 to 1112 of title XI, and sections 1403 and 1404 of title XIV, would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions. I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations.

    Seems pretty straightforward to me.  Congress cannot limit or direct a President's diplomatic efforts.  This is separation of powers, not unitary executive.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin, Feb 17, 1755.

    by Wayward Son on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:45:03 AM PDT

  •  They have all used signing statements (7+ / 0-)

    Bush was unique in the scope and frequency. I'd have to know more about this one before firmly drawing a conclusion, but I'm not sure what labor and environmental standards have to do with the war effort. Besides that, such sorts of international negotiation start with the admin, not the Congress.

    "People who have what they want are fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it." Ogden Nash (on universal health care?)

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:45:33 AM PDT

  •  You must be a purity troll. (3+ / 0-)

    Since you have criticized President Obama and pointed out an instance where he has specifically said one thing and done another.

    I would spend ten minutes finding ways to defend President's actions here and justify this specific instance in contrast to the previous President's exact same behavior, but I feel certain there will be dozens if not scores of others following shortly to do that in my stead.

    Oh, wait; I spoke too late.

  •  I'm afraid you're wrong. (10+ / 0-)

    Executive branch does diplomacy.  Congress tries to legislate the Diplomacy.  Obama says he's going to conduct diplomacy as he sees fit, which is his constitutional right and duty.

    If Congress doesn't like a treaty, the Senate can refuse to ratify it.  If they want to influence the president to take a certain tack, the Senators can tell him they won't vote to ratify with those terms.

    This is a reasonable signing statement.

    Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

    by Stephen Daugherty on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:50:50 AM PDT

  •   Obama is protecting ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ge0rge, ppl can fly, ctlrick

    ...the  World Bank:

    ...Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    It's clear he is using political-speak to protect the World Bank from labor and environmental standards and from having to answer to the Treasury department.

    He also doesn't want the World Bank to be forced to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    Get used to it.  These banks own the executive (and lesgislative) branch of American government.

    •  Nah, He's Protecting the Constitutional... (12+ / 0-)

      ...separation of powers.  

      "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

      by Dana Houle on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 08:58:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have to agree to disagree... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrississippi, ppl can fly

        ...he is using a signing statement to overturn legislation that is designed to force the World Bank to actually do some constructive, responsible things.

        God forbid a giant, powerful bank actually sacrifice a little for the common good.  I can only imagine how "communist" that must sound to these Master of the Universe  banks.

        You stick with your version & I'll stick with my version that he is protecting the World Bank.

        •  The World Bank, again, is a UN outfit. (9+ / 0-)

          That means its not under our authority to force anything, and even if it were, The Obama Administration has constitutional authority on diplomatic matters, which this by definition is.

          Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

          by Stephen Daugherty on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:09:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you are saying... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bigchin

            The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

            ..the "disregarded provisions of the legislation" are not real provisions to begin with, because the World Bank comes under the auspices of the U.N.?

            Now I'm confused.

            I don't understand how Obama could issue a signing statement meant to undermine legislation that is designed to deal with a bank Obama has no jurisdiction over in the first place.

            •  Simply put, any pressure Obama would put... (0+ / 0-)

              ... on the World Bank or IMF would be diplomatic pressure.  These two groups are international, the result of the Bretton Woods agreements after WWII.

              They are not arms of the State Department, which could legitimately be seen as targets for oversight, required to open their books.

              Obama could request this along diplomatic channels, but that's a power the constitution grants to him alone, a decision he alone is empowered to make.

              Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

              by Stephen Daugherty on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 05:34:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yours Doesn't Even Make Sense (8+ / 0-)

          The US doesn't get to dictate World Bank policy, even if Obama negotiated it.  

          And again, you're ignoring that constitutional thingee about separation of powers.  One might argue that the executive shouldn't be doing signing statements because they take on the task of judicial review, but it's also invalid for Congress to try to dictate treaty negotiations...which is a position repeatedly upheld by the courts.  

          "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

          by Dana Houle on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:12:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay. I'll stop here... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bigchin

            ...I am reading blockquotes in the diary that says things entirely different from what you & others are reading.

            If I am reading one thing, & if you are reading another, this is just going to turn into an unresolvable pissing contest.

            So this is where I exit stage left.

          •  The US doesn't dictate World Bank policy? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            catnip

            The US selects the President of the World Bank, and has because of its financial contributions has veto power over every major decision requiring a super-majority. In practice, the US does indeed dictate World Bank policy, which is why the legislation Congress passed actually matters.

      •  Oh, BS (0+ / 0-)

        Signing statements CANNOT afford that protection.
        Signing statements (as has already been said) have about as much weight as an op-ed, legally and constitutionally.  If Obama thinks that "portions of this law" violate  separation of powers THEN HE SHOULD HAVE VETOED IT.  If he didn't want to throw the baby (of the correct portions) out with the bathwater (of the violating portions) then he should have filed A LAWSUIT, NOT A SIGNING STATEMENT, challenging the constitutionality of those portions, so that THE JUDICIAL BRANCH could decide its constitutionality -- THAT would've been defending separation of powers, since THAT power DOES IN FACT BELONG TO the judiciary.

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:31:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The IMF and World Bank... (5+ / 0-)

      Are UN, and therefore international organizations.  I'm pretty sure that means we can't force ANYTHING out of them, and telling Obama that he has to flies right in the face of the Separation of Powers concerning Diplomacy.

      Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

      by Stephen Daugherty on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:07:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is clear from more than just this signing (0+ / 0-)

      statement.  There are other policy initiatives that also fit in with that mode of protection.
      It's COMPLETELY unconscionable.
      Unconscionable enough to WARRANT conspiracy theorizing.
      You know, the theory that the fatcats continue to be winning all battles and that they just chose Obama to win this time so that we'd take it as opposed to rebelling, having been duped into thinking that a good guy was in charge -- duped on the basis of his background as opposed to his current actions.

      The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

      by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:28:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to the Constitution (5+ / 0-)

    it is up to the Supreme Court to declare a law, or parts of a law, constitutional or unconstitutional, not the President. The President can sign a bill or veto it, but signing statements have the constitutional legal weight of an oped.

    Since we no longer follow the Constitution, the paragraph above is fantasy. Now days the President and his financial backers do what they like and our future is up for grabs. Remember that the political pendulums swings, and soon you'll have a unitary executive that may be worse than the last one.

    •  If congress feels it has a case, it can sue. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, IL JimP

      But it's not likely.  Congress dictating negotiations is on shaky ground.  Better not to challenge things on this count, than to sue and lose additional influence due to the precedent set.

      Reject the drama like Barack Obama!

      by Stephen Daugherty on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:02:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh really? (7+ / 0-)

      Please give me a cite and quote from the Constitution where it says that

      According to the Constitution, it is up to the Supreme Court to declare a law, or parts of a law, constitutional or unconstitutional, not the President

      .

      The fact is that it says nothing.  But, it was implicit (See Federalist 78) that is the province of the judiciary to say what the law is.  Fine.  And they are the final arbiter.  But, just as Presidents can trespass on the perogatives of Congress and need to be slapped down by the Court (see the Steel Seizure Case), so too can Congress overstep its bounds.  The Courts will have the final say on the matter, but foreign negotiations are a core function of the Executive, so Obama was on very firm ground here.

      •  This authority has grown over time, though, no? (0+ / 0-)

        I seem to remember a chapter from the Federalist Papers saying something about how the President should be more of a face of diplomacy, rather than setting the goals of the diplomacy, which Congress was meant to be more involved in.

        I'm honestly asking--i used to know this better, but don't know where my info is right now (so organized!)

      •  NO, THEY WON'T (0+ / 0-)

        just as Presidents can trespass on the perogatives of Congress and need to be slapped down by the Court (see the Steel Seizure Case), so too can Congress overstep its bounds.  The Courts will have the final say on the matter,

        YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT That this is
        The Way It Spozed To Be.
        OUR point is that it ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT
        be this way BECAUSE NOBODY is going to file the relevant suit!
        It is not clear that anybody other than the Obama DoJ even
        HAS STANDING to file the suit, and they are certainly not going to sue themSELVES!
        They are just going TO OVERTLY BREAK THE LAW!
        Given that it is CONGRESS that is the injured party, Congress
        ALREADY HAS a NON-judicial remedy -- THEY CAN JUST IMPEACH the executive FOR FLOUTING their explicit directions, directions that HE HIMSELF SIGNED into law!  HE HAD the opportunity to object (by vetoing) IF HE WANTED TO!  The signing statement is a breach of TWO contracts (the one to enforce the bill as law, that he entered into BY SIGNING the bill, and the one to execute the laws faithfully, that he swore as an oath of office).

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:24:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And who would have standing... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ge0rge

        ...to even object?

        What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

        by Alec82 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 01:23:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Amen. (0+ / 0-)

      I wish I could rec that more than once.

      The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

      by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:18:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In order to challenge a law, one must break it. (0+ / 0-)

      This is basic constitutional law.  One doesn't have standing to challenge a law based on theoretical infringements of rights, one must actually show that his rights have been abridged.  Obama would first have to ignore the provision and then be held accountable for it in a lower court before he could challenge its constitutionality in an appeals court.

      •  This is completely untrue (0+ / 0-)

        HE could challenge immediately.
        The law, if it is unconstitutional, is unconstitutional ALREADY and CONGRESS therefore HAS already broken the law.
        It is if the challenge is to come in the OTHER direction, from CONGRESS, that CONGRESS would have to wait for OBAMA to break this law (as opposed to having signed a statement of intent to break it) before THEY could sue.
        And even if he does break it, Congress's remedy is NOT to sue, but rather to impeach.

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:26:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The President does not have standing to challenge (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yellowdog

          the law, even if it is unconstitutional.  The fact that a law is unconstitutional does not mean anyone can challenge it. There must be a 'case or controversy,' and in order for that the plaintiff must show harm.  The fact that the law exists doesn't create the case.

          •  Of course, if he vetoed it (0+ / 0-)

            it wouldn't become law.

            Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
            A yam.
            What a Yam!
            And that's all that - A yam.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 11:49:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The president IS the plaintiff in this case (0+ / 0-)

            and he has been harmed by being explicitly directed to do something.  His failure to follow the directive would be legitimately interpretable as grounds for impeachment, if the directive were legitimate.  It does, after all, have the force of law.
            You can't ask him to break the law first.
            Everybody has a right to find out what the law is BEFORE they break it.
            I wouldn't have any problem with the Court saying "if you thought it was unconstitutional then you should have vetoed it", but to allege that when THERE IS NO matter of fact, BUT ONLY a matter of law at issue, that nobody has standing, is ridiculous.

            The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

            by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 01:47:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not true at all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yellowdog

      Nowhere in the Constitution does the SCOTUS have that right. It was assumed by them in Marbury vs. Madison.

      And yes, there were signing statements all the way back then.

    •  Supreme Court only deals with disputes (0+ / 0-)

      when a case is brought before it, AFAIK.

      Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
      A yam.
      What a Yam!
      And that's all that - A yam.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 11:48:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS FOR JOHN MCCAIN (9+ / 0-)

    HRC said she would use signing statements, so did Obama.  McCain said "never". Oh, John, how we miss you.

    Gov. Sanford is hiking the Appalachian Trail, and Franco is home nursing a head cold.

    by Inland on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:05:29 AM PDT

    •  McCain was posturing. (4+ / 0-)

      If elected, especially with a Democratic Congress, McCain would undoubtedly have used (though maybe not abused as did Bush) signing statements. I must presume that snark and snark alone explains your profession of missing having McCain as the 44th POTUS.

      "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

      by LeftOfYou on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:36:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped & rec'd for questioning executive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ppl can fly

    authority.  Would love to see a follow up with pertinent parts of the war supplemental & executive order spelled out.  Might provoke a good discussion, drawing in some Constitutional lawyers.

  •  This diary (8+ / 1-)

    is wrong on both the facts and on the arguments (even if the facts were correct)

  •  Signing statements. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valatius, ge0rge, ppl can fly

    Since there are so many consitutitonal scholars here who are cheering on Obama because they claim that Congress overstepped its constitutional bounds, I'm hoping that one of them can point to the text in the Constitution that allows a president to sign a law and state which parts of it he will follow and which parts of it he will not.

    •  The President takes an oath (6+ / 0-)

      to "defend the Constitution of the United States." The President can refuse to enforce laws that he believes are unconstitutional. In questionable cases, the courts are usually the best place to sort this kind of thing out. But, in this case, the provision was so clearly unconstitutional that Obama was correct to say he would not be bound by it. The signing statement simply clarifies why he is not going to enforce certain provisions of the law. He could have simply ignored that provision without the signing statement to the same effect.

      •  You don't know the Constitution. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ge0rge, BludevlsAdvocate

        The president has two options: 1) sign a law, or 2) veto a law.  Period.  A law only becomes a law after the president signs it; until then, it is a bill which has passed both houses of Congress.  If the president thinks that bill is unconstitutional, by the Constitution he (or, hopefully at some point, she) can constitutionally choose either option #1 or #2 above.

        •  He did sign it (6+ / 0-)

          The question is really about how he enforces the law once it is signed. This signing statement is merely noting his intent not to follow a certain provision because it is unconstitutional. If someone with standing wants to compel him to enforce that provision, then the courts will decide. In this case, however, no one will sue because the provision is clearly unconstitutional and Congress knows it.

          •  Duh. That's why it's called a "signing" (0+ / 0-)

            statement.  But there is no line item veto provision that allows a president to decide which parts he will enforce and which not.  If he thinks something is unconstitutional, he should veto it.  Otherwise, we have a provision in our system which enables those kinds of decisions to be made: it's called the courts.  The president does not have that authority.

            •  If we're going to be (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              freakofsociety, sulthernao

              strict constructionists, where in the Constitution does it say the courts decide whether or not legislative and executive actions are constitutional?

              •  See Article III, Section 2: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                polar bear

                The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

                See also Marbury v. Madison.

                •  I'm sure you know (4+ / 0-)

                  that judicial review was not explicitly granted to the Supreme Court in the Constitution. I guess it's ok for the courts to have implied powers, but not ok for the executive branch?

                  •  I really don't follow this. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    polar bear

                    Agreed that the Constitution does not use the exact term "judicial review," but III.2, which I quoted above, states explicitly that "The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States..."  What exactly do you think the "judicial power" is?

                    Given that the Constitution also states explicitly that the president can either sign or veto a bill, and does not give the president the authority to do a line item veto, which is what a signing statement is, your comment is more puzzling.

                    Do you think it is okay for any president to sign a bill and ignore those parts of it which he (or she) says are unconstitutional?

                    •  Judicial power is (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      yellowdog, freakofsociety, sulthernao

                      the power to hear cases that arise under federal law. For example, violations of federal securities laws or other federal criminal laws would fall under that category. That power does not necessarily include the power to rule actions by the executive branch or Congress unconstitutional, as both of those branches have independent responsibility to uphold the Constitution. The Court, in Marbury v. Madison, inferred the power of judicial review for itself. I agree with that even though it is not explicitly granted in the Constitution.

                      A signing statement is not a line item veto. The provision in question is technically law, and a party with standing could conceivably sue to have that provision enforced.

                      I think it is ok in this case for Obama to ignore this provision because: (a) it's unconstitutional and (b) it doesn't undermine the purpose of the bill in general. If the president was issuing signing statements that completely undercut the purpose of the law, or applied to provisions that he merely disliked, then I would not approve.

                      •  We both know that President Bush used (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        polar bear

                        signing statements to say that he was going to ignore certain parts of any bill that he was signing into law which he claimed conflicted with his constitutional duties as commander in chief.  Consequently, according to your theory, that's okay, because the president has said that it's unconstitutional.  Is that really where you want to go?  I suspect not, but either any president has the authority to ignore a provision because it's unconstitutional or no president has that authority.  Sure, I trust certain presidents more than others, but trust isn't the point; as a matter of fact, advocates of Bush used to say that trust was exactly why it was okay.

                        Therefore, assuming we both agree that your (a) does not work (and maybe we don't agree), then either we're in a situation whereby Congress and the President each have constitutional responsibilities, and no way to adjudicate any conflicts that arise except perhaps gunfights because, according to you, judicial power doesn't encompass that adjudication authority.  Or there has to be some sort of third party who has that adjudication authority--i.e., the courts.  And then judicial power means something more than what you ascribe to it.  You can also look at the Judiciary Act of 1789.

                        Furthermore, according to your theory, you would not approve of certain reasons why a president would issue signing statements.  But according to your theory, so what?  You have no power to intercede.  Congress has no power to intercede.  Nobody has power to intercede.

                        •  I think trust is the point (0+ / 0-)

                          If we're going to assume that every president will be as bad as George W. Bush, we would have to strip the executive branch of virtually all its powers. Bush issued over 150 signing statements. So far, Obama has issued one in six months. At some point you have to trust the president to execute his duties in good faith.

                          I never said courts don't have the power to declare acts by Congress or the president unconstitutional. In fact, I said I agreed with judicial review in my last comment. I simply pointed out that it was not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, which is an undeniable fact.

                          And people do have power to intercede. Government agencies are frequently sued to enforce laws. Someone could do that in this case, and then the courts would decide. A signing statement is actually helpful in bringing about the adjudication of constitutional questions such as this because it puts people on notice that the president does not intend to enforce that particular provision of the law.

                          •  Lots of people trusted Bush. (0+ / 0-)

                            So who's to say whose trust is right and whose trust is wrong?  The whole point of having a Constitution is to remove trust as a factor.

                            As for the rest of what you say, I agree that the Constitution does not explicitly use the term "judicial review."  But who's to say that your interpretation of "judicial power" is the accurate one?  I mean, by your strict constructionist reading, it doesn't use the term "right to privacy" either.  

                          •  I'm not going to (0+ / 0-)

                            re-litigate Marbury v. Madison, especially with someone who is obviously not a lawyer.

                            I'll just note the evolution of your position in this thread from:

                            I'm hoping that one of them can point to the text in the Constitution that allows a president to sign a law and state which parts of it he will follow and which parts of it he will not.

                            to:

                            I mean, by your strict constructionist reading, it doesn't use the term "right to privacy" either.

                          •  Do you read what you write? (0+ / 0-)

                            You're the one who used the term "strict constructionist," and thereby argued that there is nothing in the constitution that expressly gives the courts a right to judicial review.  I merely used your same logic.  Sorry you don't like it.  

                            And the framers would be appalled by your willingness to trust any one person in the position of president.

                            Good day.

          •  "Intent not to follow a certain provision" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Martha

            IS INTENT TO BREAK THE LAW and is A VIOLATION of your oath to execute the laws faithfully.

            The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

            by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:12:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  AND HE SHOULD HAVE!! (0+ / 0-)

        The signing statement simply clarifies why he is not going to enforce certain provisions of the law. He could have simply ignored that provision without the signing statement to the same effect.

        Tragically, it will NOT be to the SAME effect!
        It would've been to a MUCH BETTER (for us) and a much WORSE (for him!) effect if he had done that -- that's WHY HE DIDN'T do that!

        If he didn't PRE-alert that he was going to be breaking this law, then later when he factually does break it, people might NOTICE that and CALL it a breaking of the law and start talking about LAWSUITS!  But as it NOW stands, if he breaks the law, and people notice that he is breaking the law, well, REPUBLICANS can't very well threaten to file suit, because THEY ARE THE ONES WHO CHAMPIONED this practice!
        That's just CLASSIC Obama!

        The President can refuse to enforce laws that he believes are unconstitutional.

        Of course, but he does that at the risk of his impeachment, ESPECIALLY IF HE SIGNED the law.
        THIS is NOT like you are saying.
        Unconstitutional laws at which the President would just thumb his nose and say "I ain't 'BOUT to be enforcin' THAT shit!" would be laws enacted BY THE PREVIOUS REPUBLICAN administration.  Laws enacted by a Congress of his OWN party and HIMSELF are obviously laws that BOTH of them ARE certifying as constitutional, OR THEY SIMPLY WOULD NOT HAVE ENACTED THEM!  When the law is coming up NEW&NOW, the President's proper remedy&reaction for&to its unconstitutionality IS TO VETO it!!

        in this case, the provision was so clearly unconstitutional that Obama was correct to say he would not be bound by it.

        The position IS NOT "clearly" unconstitutional.
        Congress IS APPROPRIATING THE MONEY and CONGRESS THEREFORE HAS the authority to say how, and upon what, the money will get spent.
        There really is a constitutional issue here and the DC Circuit really is the proper place to begin resolving it.

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:42:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I will, as soon as you point to (3+ / 0-)

      the provision in the Constitution which gives the Congress the authority to direct how the President conducts foreign negotiations and diplomacy.

      •  It doesn't. (0+ / 0-)

        I never said it did.  Now, show me that provision that you promised to show me.

        •  There is none, and I promised it as soon as you (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dana Houle, askew, freakofsociety

          showed me the other provision, which also doesn't exist.  But the President takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, and when Congress passes legislation which oversteps its bounds by infringing on Executive authority, he can choose to ignore the offensive provisions.  He can be sued to enforce those provisions, and it will be the Court which ultimately makes the decision.  That is Separation of Powers.  Your all or nothing "sign or veto" provision may sound nice, but it does not fit with the practice of our government over the past 200 years.

          The problem with Bush's use of signing statements revolved around a) the sheer volume of them and b) his attempts to reinterpret the plain meaning of legislation, rather than challenge the authority of Congress to make such provisions.  

          •  Great. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BludevlsAdvocate

            Now show me where the Consitution allows any president to ignore offensive provisions of a law that he has signed.  As you rightly note, we have separation of powers.  If a president thinks a provision is unconstitutional, he can sue in court to have that provision ruled unconstitutional after he has signed the bill or he can veto a bill.  There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the president the power and authority to make decisions unilaterally about what is or is not constitutional.

            Just because Congress has overstepped its bounds does not give the President the authority to overstep his.

      •  Congress directs EVERYthing about the (0+ / 0-)

        executive!  Good grief!  Laws are laws!  The executive HAS to enforce THE LAWS!
        EVERY Law that Congress passes directs how the president does WHATEVER it is about!
        Laws (like the one authorizing the Homeland Security secretary TO BREAK/IGNORE ALL OTHER LAWS in order to get the border fence built) that RELAX Congressional authority in these matters are the ones that are unconstitutional!

        The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

        by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:18:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Signing statements are not in the Constitution (4+ / 0-)

      There is no basis in our founding document for this practice, only precedents by earlier presidents, notably Bush.

      •  Strict Constructionist eh? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew

        "Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

        by WellstoneDem on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:51:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't strict at all (0+ / 0-)

          Signing statements have no legal force, period.
          It doesn't REQUIRE ANY "construction", strict OR OTHERwise, to see that.

          But it's Congress's own fault.

          Until Congress decides that it's going to impeach people for even DARING to have signing statements, if those statements constitute intentional BREAKAGE of the law that was just signed INTO FULL effect (and if that intent is in fact realized in action), then
          We The People will continue to be thwarted.

          In this particular case, oddly, I think Obama may well be on reasonable constitutional grounds in terms of his power to conduct foreign policy.  My point remains, however, that the PROPER referee of this conflict between the Legislative and Executive branches over the conduct of this particular piece of foreign policy IS THE JUDICIAL branch, and that therefore, RATHER than filing a signing statement, Obama should have just had his DoJ file A LAWSUIT SHOWING WHY this piece of the bill is unconstitutional.

          The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

          by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:16:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  They have no legal force so (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            polar bear

            why do we make such a fuss about it? In my view, it's not the signing statement itself that is the issue, it's the president's actions which are important, and the signing statement just gives us a clue as to what those actions will be.

            Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
            A yam.
            What a Yam!
            And that's all that - A yam.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 11:58:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Whatever the facts of this particular siging (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NCgrassroots, ppl can fly

    statement, it does strongly suggest that power will continue to accrue to the executive branch, as it has for the past eight years. Those who are okay with Obama doing this may trust him to do the right thing, but constitutional government is based on distrust of power, not on blind trust in an official whom we may personally like or admire.

    I am disappointed in Obama.

  •  I think Obama has a legit constitutional argument (4+ / 0-)

    here.  This is a separation of powers issue.  The President generally has the power to conduct foreign affairs based on Article II and relevant case law, and in this example Congress appears to be micromanaging the President's role.  From a legal standpoint, he may have needed to issue this statement in order to clarify that he is not ceding ground to Congress or creating a new precedent in this area.  

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:30:11 AM PDT

    •  Considering the terrible precedent set by Bush, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety, ge0rge

      who chose to ignore laws wholesale, Obama shows very poor judgment in choosing this option. Bush signed so many of these things, and buried the documents in such obscure locations, that experts find it hard even to estimate the total number of ways in which he undercut the legislative branch.

      Obama seems to forget that he has succeeded a president who did more than any other to undermine American democracy, and he needs to tread lightly if he finds himself following in Bush's footsteps in any area whatsoever.

  •  I see some confusion here . . . (7+ / 0-)

    over the difference between use and abuse. Properly used, a signing statement can help preserve the independence of the Executive from Congressional encroachment offensive to the Separation of Powers Doctrine.

    Bush did not invent signing statements, he simply perverted and misused them in a quest for a mythical unitary excutive, amounting to no less than a formula for American dictatorship. The signing statement from Obama reported by The Hill does nothing to suggest that the new Administration remains on that path.

    The Constitution expressly grants the President the power to negotiate treaties with foreign powers. It gives a different role to Congress, requiring the advice and consent of the Senate to ratify any agreement resulting from the President's negotiations. A signing statement entails no abuse and suggests nothing improper when it simply notes that as the President faithfully execute the law he will not surrender his own independent exercise of Constitutionally granted Executive Power. That is all this particular signing statement amounts to.  

    "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

    by LeftOfYou on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:33:01 AM PDT

    •  Presidential signing statements are like Gitmo (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety

      Both represent major elements in Bush's expansion of presidential power, the first by ignoring Congress, and the second by ignoring the criminal justice system. Both the statements and the off-shoring of prisoners  have been tainted by Bush's abuse - even if the practices may once have seemed somewhat acceptable.

      •  The problem is, though, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        freakofsociety

        that Presidential signing statements have a genuine, proper and indispensible role in the proper execution of Presidential power and serve many legitimate purposes when properly used. The misconduct of the Bush years cannot be permitted to interfere with the legitimate exercise of Presidential power going forward.

        "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

        by LeftOfYou on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:51:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lawsuit time? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Martha, Calamity Jean

    If the POTUS takes exception to parts of a bill as being unconstitutional, shouldn't a signing statement necessarily require that the executive branch immediately file suit against Congress so that the Judicial branch would have a chance to rule on the constitutional issue?

    I have no doubt that Congress at times oversteps their authority when passing laws.  But I don't think that the Executive branch should be able to unilaterally determine that they've overstepped as that determination seems more like the responsibility of the Judicial branch.

    Basically, the judiciary should be refereeing the balance of power between the Congress and White House.  You shouldn't get to be a player and referee at the same time.

    Michael

  •  Why not look at the provisions affected (8+ / 0-)

    From H.R. 2346 as passed by both houses

    REFORM OF THE `DOING BUSINESS' REPORT OF THE WORLD BANK.

         `(a) The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Directors at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association, and the International Finance Corporation of the following United States policy goals, and to use the voice and vote of the United States to actively promote and work to achieve these goals:

               `(1) Suspension of the use of the `Employing Workers' Indicator for the purpose of ranking or scoring country performance in the annual Doing Business Report of the World Bank until a set of indicators can be devised that fairly represent the value of internationally recognized workers' rights, including core labor standards, in creating a stable and favorable environment for attracting private investment. The indicators shall bring to bear the experiences of the member governments in dealing with the economic, social and political complexity of labor market issues. The indicators should be developed through collaborative discussions with and between the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the International Labor Organization, private companies, and labor unions.

               `(2) Elimination of the `Labor Tax and Social Contributions' Subindicator from the annual Doing Business Report of the World Bank.

               `(3) Removal of the `Employing Workers' Indicator as a `guidepost' for calculating the annual Country Policy and Institutional Assessment score for each recipient country.

         `(b) Within 60 days after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide an instruction to the United States Executive Directors referred to in subsection (a) to take appropriate actions with respect to implementing the policy goals of the United States set forth in subsection (a), and such instruction shall be posted on the website of the Department of the Treasury.

    CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION AND GREENHOUSE GAS ACCOUNTING.

         `(a) Use of Greenhouse Gas Accounting- The Secretary of the Treasury shall seek to ensure that multilateral development banks (as defined in section 1701(c)(4) of this Act) adopt and implement greenhouse gas accounting in analyzing the benefits and costs of individual projects (excluding those with de minimus greenhouse gas emissions) for which funding is sought from the bank.

         `(b) Expansion of Climate Change Mitigation Activities- The Secretary of the Treasury shall work to ensure that the multilateral development banks (as defined in section 1701(c)(4)) expand their activities supporting climate change mitigation by--

               `(1) significantly expanding support for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, including zero carbon technologies;

               `(2) reviewing all proposed infrastructure investments to ensure that all opportunities for integrating energy efficiency measures have been considered;

               `(3) increasing the dialogue with the governments of developing countries regarding--

                     `(A) analysis and policy measures needed for low carbon emission economic development; and

                     `(B) reforms needed to promote private sector investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, including zero carbon technologies; and

               `(4) integrate low carbon emission economic development objectives into multilateral development bank country strategies.

         `(c) Report to Congress- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit a report on the status of efforts to implement this section to the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.'

    Based on this, here are my thoughts:

    1. I really don't know what these labor indicators are or the potential effects of changing them.
    1. I thought the globalized "anti-globalization" movement was outraged by the idea of the IMF and World Bank imposing any sort of standards on countries before providing loans. I would guess some developing countries would be awfully upset at the idea of the U.S. imposing environmental conditions through the World Bank, that would withhold funds for development projects that would lead to green house gas emissions.
    1. It seems pretty clear that the Congress is laying out foreign policy that it expects the Administration to adopt.
    1. Article II, Section II, of the Constitution says:

    He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur

    1. Obama's signing statement says:

    I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations

    Which, essentially takes those provisions as advice offered by the Senate in the adoption of treaties, recognizing the Senate's right to offer such advice while reserving his right to actually negotiate treaties.

    1. I see no problem with this.

    "Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

    by WellstoneDem on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 09:46:16 AM PDT

    •  Good comment, esp. w/the text of Article II. But (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freakofsociety

      as far as imposing standards, I believe Congress is attempting to direct the Treasury Sec. to work towards a modification of what they consider to be harmful standards already imposed.

      Many Progressive Caucus members did not vote for the war supplemental partially because of the money going to the IMF, which they see in need of reform.

      Now, what are the mechanisms by which the Congress can direct the Sec. to use his influence to inform IMF policies?  

      Sounds complicated.

      •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)

        Im sure the changes suggested are probably good ones.

        I also think the Progressive Caucus members stand is the right way for Congress to go about it. Congress can withhold funding until the desired changes take place, it just can't provide funding and then dictate negotiation positions to the executive.

        I don't think this signing statement necessarily means that President Obama is opposed to the suggestions put forth by Congress. It is simply reserving the right to engage in negotiations as it sees fit (especially since the U.S. cannot do anything unilaterally in multilateral forums, despite its tremendous weight).

        "Never separate the life you live from the words you speak" -Paul Wellstone

        by WellstoneDem on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:04:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are none. (0+ / 0-)

        The treasury department is part of the executive branch, and congress has no say in how it conducts its legal business.

        •  How is IMF policy set? I'd hope for a way (0+ / 0-)

          (other than withholding funds) for Congress to influence how their (our) representative, the Sec. of Treasury, influences IMF policy.  

          I'll have to research this stuff, eventually. If anyone knows a lot about the IMF structure and legal authority, and the U.S. role therein, this would be a great diary series.

          •  The Sec. of Treasury is the President's rep. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoisyWithdrawal

            It's the job of the Sec. of Treasury to conduct foreign policy according to the President's instructions.  If he negotiates a treaty, the Congress must consent.  It can also advise.  But it cannot dictate policy at all.

            •  Is our business with the IMF done exclusively (0+ / 0-)

              with treaties, though?

              •  No. Therefor the Pres. does not need consent. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                polar bear

                That doesn't mean that Congress can therefore direct the President how to conduct his foreign policy.

                •  Thanks, i'll have to research this stuff. It (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego

                  doesn't seem right that an executive branch representative, meant to execute the will of the people, should be able to influence policy that affects the whole world, if said policy is against the wishes of the American people.

                  But i suppose that goes back to foreign policy, advice and consent, and all that.

                  It's a shame that precedent has given this much power to the Executive branch, if it is true that the Congress is helpless in these cases (other than denying all funding), because I'm sure I read in the Federalist Papers where they definitely wanted a larger role for Congress (and the Senate) in setting foreign policy. One writer even scoffed at Presidential power being so great, iirc, implying that the President would be great at the figurehead stuff, not the actual policies.

                  As usual, Congress shifts as much as it can off to somewhere else, so it doesn't get blamed when things go wrong.

                •  what about this provision, though? (0+ / 0-)

                  off huffpo:

                  one of the provisions was to

                  "require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)."

                  Can't Congress require the Treasury dept. to report to Congress those activities?

    •  Very good points. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm tired of the U.S. using internation institutions like the IMF to impose on other countries its own policies of the moment, which is what those parts of the bills try to facilitate.  

      I realize that Obama's motives are not good on this issue, but this is not an issue on which to hang attempts to restrict executive power.

  •  Like I've said, Obama is an epic fail on... (0+ / 0-)

    Human rights: no torture/spying investigations or prosecutions, indefinite detentions.

    Civil rights: gay rights, DADT.

    Executive power: national security, executive privilege, signing statements, indefinite detentions.

  •  Would it have been better simply to ignore (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freakofsociety

    those provisions without issuing a signing statement?  I think it's clear that those provisions are unconstitutional and the President cannot be bound by them whether signed into law or not.  This is really about disclosure.

  •  So much for the rule of law (0+ / 0-)

    "Provisions of this bill...would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions,"

    If portions of the bill "interfere with [your] constitutional authority"*THEN THEY ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL*.  As such, their proper role is to become THE SUBJECT OF A LAWSUIT so that their constitutionality can be put BEFORE THE JUDICIARY, WHOSE JOB it is to decide that question.

    To just decide "I can do WHATeverTF I want because MY party is the one with a majority in the House, so of course they're not going to impeach me" is just to make a mockery of the whole system.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:10:51 AM PDT

  •  This diary has 200 comments without even (0+ / 0-)

    making the rec list.
    Intriguing.
    There have been troll diaries that made the rec list because people who disagreed with them wanted to rec them to keep the argument from aging off.
    I hope that happens here.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 10:33:13 AM PDT

  •  Do signing statements have any real power? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    freakofsociety, BarackStarObama

    I don't really know much about the subject, but can't he say whatever he wants in a signing statement? This just sounds to me like a heads up that he finds some parts of the bill unconstitutional and is going to follow the constitution regardless of the wording of the law. Perhaps this is one of those cases that the court will decide in the end.

    Economic Left/Right: -4.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
    A yam.
    What a Yam!
    And that's all that - A yam.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 11:18:21 AM PDT

  •  But there is also this: (0+ / 0-)

    from Huffpo:

    "require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF)."

    Can't Congress require that the Treasury report to them on these activities?

  •  Signing statements allowed Bush to Ignore Laws (0+ / 0-)

    and now President Obama is doing it?

    What on earth?

    Only Congress has the power to make laws.

    Obama took an Oath to Enforce Our Laws.

    See That HE DOES!

    SIGN THE PETITION
    to Prosecute Those That Tortured In Our Name

    TODAY!

    SIGN THE PETITION To Prosecute Bush's Torturers at ANGRYVOTERS.ORG Over 250,000 signed - Add your Signature Today

    by 1stProtestInTheStreet on Sat Jun 27, 2009 at 01:21:40 PM PDT

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