Yesterday, President Bush asserted “that he had the executive power to bypass several parts of two bills: a military authorization act and a measure giving inspectors general greater independence from White House control,” the New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports:
Bush has issued signing statements to bypass more than 1,100 sections of laws. A recent report by the House Armed Services Committee said Bush has used the statements in a “broad and unsubstantiated” manner and that 78 percent of them “have raised constitutional or legal objections.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told ThinkProgress:
The White House is holding on until the end to a strategy set early on by Vice President Cheney. With one pen the President signs a bill into law. With another stroke he chooses which parts of the law he will enforce. In undermining these watchdog reforms for inspectors general, the Bush-Cheney White House again is willing to subvert good-government accountability in order to buttress self-serving claims of unfettered authority.
,Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who introduced the inspector general reform legislation, told ThinkProgress:
In an age where people are frustrated with the status quo in their federal government, we needed this legislation because Americans deserve to know we are watching out for their tax dollars. This is a strong, bipartisan bill that will do a lot of good, and I’m disappointed that the president has tried to undermine this effort to strengthen oversight and accountability in the federal government.