For several weeks now, the president’s critics have imagined an entirely plausible scenario: Bush could sign a congressionally backed funding bill for the war in Iraq, with the various conditions included (i.e., a withdrawal timeline), and then decide he won’t follow the law. When he signs the bill, the president could issue one of his infamous signing statements, explaining that he’ll abide by the legislation’s provisions as he sees fit.
There’s ample reason to expect such a move. The president has “touched up” hundreds of bills with signing statements, in which Bush has announced his intention to treat legal provisions as suggestions, which he can accept or ignore, depending on how his lawyers interpret the law.
On a recent conference call, House Speaker Pelosi touched on how she might react to such a move.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is threatening to take President Bush to court if he issues a signing statement as a way of sidestepping a carefully crafted compromise Iraq war spending bill.
Pelosi recently told a group of liberal bloggers, “We can take the president to court” if he issues a signing statement, according to Kid Oakland, a blogger who covered Pelosi’s remarks for the liberal website dailykos.com.
“The president has made excessive use of signing statements and Congress is considering ways to respond to this executive-branch overreaching,” a spokesman for Pelosi, Nadeam Elshami, said. “Whether through the oversight or appropriations process or by enacting new legislation, the Democratic Congress will challenge the president’s non-enforcement of the laws.”
It’s encouraging to know the Dem leadership won’t take signing statements lying down. This has been an extra-constitutional tactic, abused by Bush, for far too long.