Reposted from a July 2006 blog entry:
Free Government Information writers have reported on Presidential Signing Statements before. In the past two months, two new statements have been issued and are available through the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents:
- Statement on Signing the Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act of 2005 from the May 29, 2006 compiliation.
- Statement on Signing the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006 from the June 19, 2006 compiliation.
Both of these measures contain language that the President intends to ignore certain passed statutes as unconstitutional. The Supplemental Bill signing statement contains provisions rejecting reporting requirements:
Sections 1209 and 2202 of the Act prohibit use of certain funds appropriated in the Act to initiate new start programs unless the congressional defense committees receive advance written notice. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated that the President’s authority to classify and control access to information bearing on the national security flows from the Constitution and does not depend upon a legislative grant of authority. Although the advance notice contemplated by sections 1209 and 2202 can be provided in most situations as a matter of comity, situations may arise, especially in wartime, in which the President must act promptly under his constitutional grants of executive power and authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces while protecting certain extraordinarily sensitive national security information. The executive branch shall construe these sections in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.
Section 1209 is:
SEC. 1209. None of the funds provided in this chapter may be used to finance programs or activities denied by Congress in fiscal year 2005 and 2006 appropriations to the department of Defense or to initiate a procurement or research, development, test and evaluation new start program without prior written notification to the congressional defense committees.
Section 2202 is:
None of the funds provided in this chapter may be used to finance programs or activities denied by Congress in fiscal year 2005 and 2006 appropriations to the Department of
Defense or to initiate a procurement or research, development, test and evaluation new start program without prior written notification to the congressional defense committees.
The signing statement also says:
The provision under the heading, “Joint Explosive Device Defeat Fund,” Department of Defense-Military, that calls for the reporting to congressional committees of information that may include highly sensitive and classified national security information, will be
construed consistently with the President’s constitutional responsibility to control the dissemination of such information.
That provision states:
For the â€˜â€˜Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fundâ€™â€™, $1,958,089,000, to remain available until September 30, 2008: Provided, That such funds shall be available to the Secretary of Defense, notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the purpose of allowing the Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization to investigate, develop and provide equipment,supplies, services, training, facilities, personnel and funds to assist United States forces in the defeat of improvised explosive devices: Provided further, That within 60 days of the enactment of this Act, a plan for the intended management and use of the Fund is provided to the congressional defense committees: Provided further, That the Secretary of Defense shall submit a report not later than 30 days after the end of each fiscal quarter to the congressional defense committees providing assessments of the evolving threats, individual service requirements to counter the threats, the current strategy for predeployment training of members of the Armed Forces on improvised explosive devices, and details on the execution of this Fund:
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