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30% of Laws Simply Ignored by Feds

Think Progress story:

Federal agencies ignored 30 percent of the laws Bush objected to in signing statements last year, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. In 2006, President Bush issued signing statements for 11 out of the 12 appropriations bills passed by Congress, claiming a right to bypass a total of 160 provisions in them.

In a sample set of 19 provisions, the GAO found that "10 provisions were executed as written, 6 were not, and 3 were not triggered and so there was no agency action to examine."

If the congress ever got enough guts to impeach Bush, this should be the offense that is front and center. Through his use of signing statements, Bush has recklessly and deliberately destroyed the balance of powers and usurped complete authority for himself.

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Comments (3)

Paul Hamilton:

That headline isn't quite right. It should read "Feds ignore 30% of laws Bush tarnished with signing statements."

But in any case, I'd really love to see the constitutional basis of the power he's claiming here, and if there is none, then he should certainly be subject to impeachment.


i'm torn on signing statements. sometimes they really are needed to clarify a law for enforcement purposes. sometimes they are need to instruct an executive branch department to carry out the law in a specific manner, which the president should have every right to do since he is the head of the executive branch.

and to be honest, there are some serious constitutional questions regarding some of the provisions that do get passed by congress. i wish that bush would just have vetoed those bills that he thinks are unconstitutional,rather than signing them to get the parts he wanted and then using the signing statements.

on the other hand, there's nothing that to stop a member of congress from filing suit in federal court to force the government to fulfill it's legal requirements. that hasn't happened yet, despite all the gnashing of teeth. that leads me to suspect that he can pretty much do these things.

trust me, if even 2 years ago, Kennedy or Pelosi could have taken Bush to court to force him to do something against one of his signing statements, don't you think they would have?

Paul Hamilton:

>>there are some serious constitutional questions regarding some of the provisions that do get passed by congress

And it is the role of the judicial branch to answer those questions, not for the executive to arbitrarily make that choice by picking and choosing what part of the law he will follow. To allow that sort of thing completely destroys the balance of power.

>>that leads me to suspect that he can pretty much do these things.

Or that the Democrats lack the moral courage to take a political risk to defend the oath of office that every one of them took to uphold the constitution. Hell, if I were a *Republican* in congress, I'd want to do something about it just for the shame that it brings to my party for a Republican president to be acting like a despot.


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