Tucked into a summary of a GOP-sponsored House appropriations bill is an unexpected line about restricting presidential power:
In addition, the bill eliminates the “Youth Media Campaign,” prohibits funds for the [Executive Office of the President] to prepare “signing statements,” which has been used in the past to undermine or circumvent laws passed by Congress, and requires reports on the costs and regulatory burdens caused by the flawed Dodd-Frank financial legislation.
The GOP is, of course, right that signing statements have been used to circumvent laws passed by Congress. President George W. Bush used signing statements to claim the power to flout a legal ban on permanent military based in Iraq, to undermine congressional attempts to fight genocide, and to thumb his nose at his legal obligation to hire competent people at FEMA.
Now that a Democrat is in the White House, however, the GOP suddenly sees the wisdom of preventing the very kind of imperial authority President Bush took for granted.