Signing statement = abuse of power
From the White House press release:
President's Statement on H.R. 199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005"
Today, I have signed into law H.R. 3199, the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005," and then S. 2271, the "USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006." The bills will help us continue to fight terrorism effectively and to combat the use of the illegal drug methamphetamine that is ruining too many lives.
The executive branch shall construe the provisions of H.R. 3199 that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch, such as sections 106A and 119, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties.
The executive branch shall construe section 756(e)(2) of H.R. 3199, which calls for an executive branch official to submit to the Congress recommendations for legislative action, in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as he judges necessary and expedient.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
March 9, 2006.
I would like to call your attention to the 2nd paragraph. There is a very important section of the Patriot Act that says the Inspector General will audit the FBI to make sure that every action they take under this act is legal and that the audits will be reported to Congress on specific dates.
Here is the beginning of Section 106A:
SEC. 106A. AUDIT ON ACCESS TO CERTAIN BUSINESS RECORDS FOR
FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE PURPOSES.
(a) AUDIT.--The Inspector General of the Department of Justice
shall perform a comprehensive audit of the effectiveness and use,
including any improper or illegal use, of the investigative authority
provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under title V of
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861
Section 119 states that the Inspector General will audit the Department of Justice to make sure that national security letters are being used legally.
The beginning of Section 119:
a) AUDIT.--The Inspector General of the Department of Justice
shall perform an audit of the effectiveness and use, including any
improper or illegal use, of national security letters issued by the
Department of Justice.
So, what paragraph two of Bu$h's signing statement says is that if he doesn't deem it fit to report to the Inspector General and Congress about how this act is being applied, he's not going to do it. This is one of the main checks and balances sections of the act.
Now on to Section 756 (e):
(e) PERFORMANCE ACCOUNTABILITY; REPORTS AND EVALUA-
(1) REPORTS.--Successful applicants shall submit to the
Attorney General a report on the activities carried out under
the grant at the end of each fiscal year.
(2) EVALUATIONS.--Not later than 12 months at the end
of the 3 year funding cycle under this section, the Attorney
H. R. 3199--86
General shall submit a report to the appropriate committees
of jurisdiction that summarizes the results of the evaluations
conducted by recipients and recommendations for further legis-
In his signing statement, paragraph three, Bu$h says:
in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to recommend for the consideration of the Congress such measures as he judges necessary and expedient.
So what he's doing with this signing statement is thumbing his nose at Congress by saying he'll decide when and if they will get reports from the Executive and Judicial branches as to whether this act is being applied legally.
Our consitution provides for three equal branches of government, each providing checks and balances for the others. What Bu$h continues to do is add weight to the powers of the Executive Branch, which moves us closer toward a dictatorship. My question is why is this country allowing him to do so? How long is it going to take before enough of us stand up and scream, "ENOUGH!"?