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Whiplash Warning: Obama Issues First Signing Statement


You had to know this was coming–but just one day after Obama announced that he’s not going to use signing statements the way Bush did?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two days after criticizing his predecessor for issuing guidelines on how to put legislation into practice, President Barack Obama issued such a directive himself.

Out of public view Wednesday, Obama signed a $410 billion spending bill that includes billions for items known as earmarks, the targeted spending that lawmakers direct to projects in their districts. Obama promised during the presidential campaign to curb such spending.

He also issued a “signing statement” in which he objected to provisions of the bill that he said the Justice Department had advised “raise constitutional concerns.” Among them are provisions that Obama said would “unduly interfere” with his authority in the foreign affairs arena by directing him how to proceed, or not to, in negotiations and discussions with international organizations and foreign governments.

Another provision, Obama said, would limit his discretion to choose who performs specific functions in military missions.

Here is the signing statement (Warning: PDF file) At Talking Points Memo, Elana Schor notes that Obama is claiming the right to “reallocate money as he sees fit without abiding by the spending bill’s requirement to first get approval from Congress.” Here is the relevant portion of the statement:

Numerous provisions of the legislation purport to condition the authority of officers to spend or reallocate funds on the approval of congressional committees. These are impermissible forms of legislative aggrandizement in the execution of the laws other than by enactment of statutes. Therefore, although my Administration will notify the relevant committees before taking the specified actions, and will accord the recommendations of such committees all appropriate and serious consideration, spending decisions shall not be treated as dependent on the approval of congressional committees. Likewise, one other provision gives congressional committees the power to establish guidelines for funding costs associated with implementing security improvements to buildings. Executive officials shall treat such guidelines as advisory.

Yet another provision requires the Secretary of the Treasury to accede to all requests of a Board of Trustees that contains congressional representatives. The Secretary shall treat such requests as nonbinding.

{{ Sigh! }} This is starting to get kind of routine. Can’t he do something to surprise us? Or how about not making the promises in the first place and just going ahead and doing whatever Bush did?

And doesn’t the House control the purse? I thought they were supposed to determine how money is spent.

39 Responses

  1. Why didn’t we just save all the money for the election and keep Bush on? Did we need a new face to the tune of a billion plus dollars for the campaign and the inauguration?

    • yup, Bush 3. this is so crazy. how does he get away with it? it’s bad when dubya does it but it’s okay for him? wtf?

      • The Return of The Imperial Presidency… but I think we all knew all along that this was going to happen. We tried to tell them. But they shouted us down.

  2. (sniff) I don’t know, BB. I get depressed every time I think about the election. Signing Statements….. ffffft

  3. So let me see if I understand this ..

    He will do whatever he said he was not going to do ; whenever he wants to ; as long as HE approves of it …because after all he won . And if comment is required ; he will just spin the same bullsh*t out of both sides of his mouth at once that he always does .
    The comments will be some more bullsh*t to the effect of
    Well I know I said I was not going to do it ; but now the situation calls for it , because I think it does, and because I won . This will apply to what ever he wants , when ever he wants it .

  4. Who’s in charge? Who has oversight? Who cares about us? Why have signing statements not been challenged? I think Clinton made signing statements. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Too many lawyers spoil the ………intent?

    It feels like ping pong with the president having the last word. It doesn’t feel like legislation.

    • It’s like my Mom use to say: “It is because I say it is.”

      • i used to hear that a lot

        • I probably say that a lot 😳

          • Yeah, well at least your kids aren’t paying to hear you say it(like the taxpayers pay our illustrious leaders.) As I have told the kiddos, paying the bills has its priviledges, consider it a rite of passage. When they get older they can torture their children with because I said so.

  5. This. Just. Rips. It.

    Obama isn’t any better than Bush. In fact, in ways we’ve already discussed, he’s worse because he’s a frigging traitor, funded and supported by a non-styrofoam fifth column.

    Can’t wait to see how this one gets spun.

  6. from WIKI

    On March 9th, 2009, President Barack Obama ordered his executive officials to consult Attorney General Eric Holder before relying on one of George W. Bush’s signing statements to bypass a statute.[19] He stated that he only plans to use signing statements when given legislation by Congress which contains unconstitutional provisions. In a memo to the heads of each department in the Executive Branch, he wrote:

    “In exercising my responsibility to determine whether a provision of an enrolled bill is unconstitutional, I will act with caution and restraint, based only on interpretations of the Constitution that are well-founded.”

    he is SUCH a LIAR


    • He is SUCH a LIAR

      That should be the headline on every newspaper that covers this story.

    • There is no legal right for anyone in the executive branch to ignore a law passed by Congress. We are living in a dictatorship.

      • Now Dearie, you are being silly. President Obama is a Constitutional Law Professor, who are we to question what he does? 😉

    • This guy needs a copy of Constitution for Dummies! If a statute or law is considered unconstitutional, that is for the Supreme Court to determine.

      No wonder he botched the presidential oath of office – it didn’t agree with his personal philosophy of president. He reminds me of Bush’s statement that being president would be a whole lot easier if he was dictation; well, looks like the Soertoro/Obama guy is fulfilling Bush’s wish because the one thing he isn’t is president of our democratic/republic!

  7. Axis Sally Pelosi helped create this monster and I doubt the house will have any say in how money is spent now.
    Axis Sally and Lord HaHa Reid can not stand up to the Chicago Machine they selected to occupy the White House.
    They threw away two branches of government to get backrack.
    Just how far back this was planned I am not sure but brazille influenced at least two elections to get the worse we could get as president. They thought they had a puppet and instead the American people got “Chuckie”
    May God forgive them because I can not.



  8. “They thought they had a puppet and instead the American people got “Chuckie””


  9. Are Nancy and Harry ok with this. They have the majority. Are they just gonna sit by. This is John Yoo all over again.


    President Obama’s Justice Department defended former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo in a San Francisco federal court Friday, arguing that a prisoner formerly held as an enemy combatant had no right to sue Yoo for writing legal memos that allegedly led to his detention and torture.

  10. Among them are provisions that Obama said would “unduly interfere” with his authority in the foreign affairs arena by directing him how to proceed, or not to, in negotiations and discussions with international organizations and foreign governments.

    This is probably Gaffer Joe just shoving Hapless Kerry deeper under the Senate Foreign Relations bus.

    • does this have something to do about writing help me out with iraq and i’ll do a quid pro quo with you on something letters to russians?

      • Could be, dakinikat. Or maybe Barry just wants to show he can do a JFK Turkey-for-Cuba like deal, and he doesn’t want Congress getting in the way. In any case, the letter was bumbling and amateurish, and sounds like an idea Barry would come up with himself. Putin is probably still laughing, knowing how green Barry is, and that he can be had.

        It’s worrying because Barry almost seems like he’s looking for a big international flare-up he can play with, taking attention away from the economy. Like some kind of rinky-dink Chicago mob arson deal. But this is not Chicago. It’s high stakes geopolitics on the worldwide stage. He scares the hell out of me. Schoolboy with matches.

        He should leave foreign policy to Hillary, completely.

  11. Gaffer Joe , Joe the Gaffer .that has such a nice ring to it

  12. Arrrrrrrgh! Whiplash indeed. Just when I thought he had done something decent (promising no more signing statements).

    Bush 3.

    I agree that “HE IS SUCH A LIAR” should be posted everywhere.

  13. Obama has made ONE formal nomination for the Treasury Dept. (Geithner), and there are 18 positions left unfilled???

    Read all about this beyond-sorry situation:


  14. The House should stop funding for the White House. In the past, that was a line in the budget for the executive branch and it should be zero’ed out.

    He would veto the budget but it would serve better than a sternly worded letter to tell him they would hold him in check.

    • Now THAT would be nice…. to actually have the branches of government providing balance to each other…

      • Wouldn’t it be lovely? Almost like the government was designed to work that way 🙂

    • The House should find **something** he wants funded and then zero it out.

      This crap with the exec. signing statements has got to go!

  15. I am not suprized!

  16. Does he really want to use the word “aggrandizement” to argue his case. He is the ultimate authority on (self) aggrandizement all right.

    So, do I hear the Left screeching like they did at Bush for the very same thing? Anyone? What’s the latest rationalization to excuse Obama from holding himself above the system of checks and balances?

  17. This is also exactly the reason that Pelosi & Co. should have held Bush et. al. accountable. Once the boundaries have been rolled back and the precedents are set, it’s very difficult to reinstate balance (and appropriate outrage).

  18. We’re still at war. That will always be the excuse. How the Executive neutralizes the Legislative.

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