Thursday, July 9, 2009

House overwhelmingly rejects Obama's signing statement

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama insisted he would reopen negotiations on NAFTA, citing the need to strengthen labor and environmental standards. And then, in typical Obama fashion, he waffled on that pledge a few months ago, saying he had no plans to renegotiate NAFTA.

Apparently, labor and environmental standards were only of concern to Obama during the presidential campaign. Which explains why he included a signing statement in the war-spending bill last month, saying he would disregard provisions of the legislation that would compel him to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards.

The conditions 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 the signing statement.

Then again, when it comes to "international organizations and foreign governments", Obama is capable of just about anything, especially when these international organizations are of the rogue variety. Hmmm......

Nevertheless, Mr. Obama, who consistently criticized George W. Bush for issuing signing statements - although Obama himself has already issued 5 signing statements since taking office - received a little taste of his own medicine Thursday:
The House rebuked President Obama for trying to ignore restrictions to international aid payments, voting overwhelmingly for an amendment forcing the administration to abide by its constraints.

House members [on Thursday] approved an amendment by a 429-2 vote to have the Obama administration pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require a Treasury Department report on World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) activities...

The conditions on World Bank and IMF funding were part of the $106 billion war supplemental bill that was passed last month. Obama, in a statement made as he signed the bill, said that he would ignore the conditions.

Senior Democrats and Republicans railed against the notion that the president could ignore a law they had passed and he had signed.

"We do this not just on behalf of this institution, but on behalf of this democracy," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). "There's kind of a unilateralism, an undemocratic, unreachable way about these signing statements ." ("undemocratic", hmmm... Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Zelaya, Castro... Oba.., ah yes, "undemocratic".....)
Obama, a unilateralist?

How dare you insinuate such a thing, Mr. Frank!

Leave that to the pundits! Shame on you!

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