Obama???s Signing Statement Promise Broken
Yet another promise from Senator Obama has been breached by President Obama.
When he was a senator, Obama opposed signing statements. Now he uses them. The statements are used as a President signs a piece of legislation into law, giving his interpretation. Presidents have the power to publish an interpretation of a new law, but not the unilateral discretion to declare it unconstitutional as he???s signing it.
Obama was asked at a town hall meeting in 2008: ???When Congress offers you a bill, do you promise to not use presidential signage to get your way???? Then-Sen. Obama said ???yes??? and went on to explain his position, which is found in a video posted by Real Clear Politics:
???We have got a government designed by the Founders so that there will be checks and balances. You don???t want a President who is too powerful or a Congress that is too powerful or a court that is too powerful. Everybody???s got their own role. Congress??? job is to pass legislation. The President can veto it or he can sign it. But what George Bush has been trying to do is part of his effort to accumulate more power in the presidency, as he has been saying, ‘Well, I can basically change what Congress has passed by attaching a letter saying I don???t agree with this part or I don???t agree with that part. I am going to choose to interpret it this way or that way.??? That is not part of his power. But this is part of a whole theory of George Bush, that he can make laws as he is going along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We are not going to use signing statements as a way to do an end around Congress.???
Fast-forward to 2011. Congress passes a Continuing Resolution (HR 1473) to fund the government to the end of the fiscal year on April 15 with a provision to eliminate pay for the President???s health care czar, climate change czar, auto czar, and urban affairs czar. When President Obama signed this law, he attached a letter saying that it obstructs his ???ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers??? and that this provision ???violate(s) the separation of powers by undermining the President’s ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.???
The law also contained a provision barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees into the United States. The President wrote that this provision ???represents a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees.???
This isn???t an effort to, let???s see, ???accumulate more power in the presidency,??? is it?
President Obama???s Auto-Tax Increase Idea
President Obama has been traveling the nation, pitching his ???Debt Failsafe??? idea to impose automatic tax increases on the American people if politicians in Washington spend too much. He promised that ???if by 2014 our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy??? then he will ask Congress to pass a plan to cut the deficit with ???more spending reductions in the tax code.???
His idea seems to be modeled on a Bipartisan Policy Center plan that promotes the idea that legislation could be crafted to direct Treasury Department officials to ???increase tax rates proportionally??? as part of a plan to hit a predetermined debt target.
In short, it would empower unelected bureaucrats to impose a tax increase on all Americans???clearly something that conservatives should oppose.
Debt Limit Increase
Senators Mike Lee (R.-Utah) and Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) have pledged to block legislation to increase our nation???s debt limit over $14.29 trillion, unless Congress attaches a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution or imposes some other measure to cut spending from the federal budget. The debate is sure to be heated. Conservatives need to make sure that politicians in Washington don???t take the easy way out.
Paul Ryan???s Budget
According to the Left???s all-out attack on Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan???s budget, he wants to destroy entitlement programs. Unreformed, though, those same programs will bankrupt America???and the Left offers no solution. The Senate needs to have a real debate on this???before entitlement spending explodes.