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Trump takes immediate step to try to curb new inspector general’s autonomy

Trump takes immediate step to try to curb new inspector general’s autonomy, as battle over coronavirus oversight begins. by Jeff Stein, The Washington Post, Updated: March 28, 2020- 12:57 PM
“President Donald Trump on Friday took a step to immediately try to curb oversight provisions in Congress’ $2 trillion coronavirus spending package, seeking to assert presidential authority over a new inspector general’s office.”

Signing Statement by the President, Issued on: March 27, 2020:

“Today, I have signed into law H.R. 748, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES” Act (the “Act”). The Act makes emergency supplemental appropriations and other changes to law to help the Nation respond to the coronavirus outbreak. I note, however, that the Act includes several provisions that raise constitutional concerns.”

a href=”https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/748/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22hr748%22%5D%7D&r=1&s=3″>H.R.748 – CARES Act 116th Congress (2019-2020
Sponsor: Rep. Courtney, Joe [D-CT-2] (Introduced 01/24/2019) Committees: House – Ways and Means
Latest Action: 03/27/2020 Signed by President. (All Actions)

co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.

Bush Signing Statements Will Retire With Their Author

Bush Signing Statements Will Retire With Their Author, by Christopher Weaver, ProPublica, January 7, 2009.

“They will mean nothing” once Bush leaves office, said Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University and member of an American Bar Association task force that studied, and ultimately condemned, the practice of using signing statements to reject statutes. Presidents should veto laws they believe are unconstitutional, the task force said.

Presidential Signing Statements

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Armed Services Committee issued a report on Presidential signing statements: Findings of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in Support of the Full Committee re: Presidential Signing Statements (PDF, 4 pages). It is also available here from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, which describes the report here: White House Signing Statements “Unsubstantiated,” Report Says, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News, August 20, 2008.

The Subcommittee held hearings on signing statements (“Testimony on the impact of the Presidential signing statement on the Department of Defense’s implementation of the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act) on March 11, 2008. Prepared statements and audio transcripts are available on the Committee’s hearing information page. (Nothing is available from GPO Access yet, apparently.)

Also see: Essential Reading About Signing Statements (which includes links to audio files of the hearings from hascaudio.house.gov, but which I had no success in loading) and News About Signing Statements maintained by Joyce A. Green.

Just browsing around this important topic and trying to find a single, reliable link to all the information from the government is a good demonstration how far we have to go to get good access to government information.

Presidential Signing Statements 1929-2008

The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara has archived all Presidential Signing Statements from Herbert Hoover through George W. Bush.

You can search or browse by year. The signing statements are part of a much larger documents section that includes executive orders, proclamations, “fireside chats” and more.

The Project site also includes a “data” section with information such as a table of vetoes and “success rate”, a section on presidential elections data (statistics) and more.

House to investigate Bush’s signing statements

The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), has launched an investigation challenging repeated assertions by President Bush that he need not enforce aspects of laws he deems unconstitutional. “The signing statements amount to a line-item veto, according to critics, and frustrate the legislative branch by not giving lawmakers the opportunity to override a presidential veto.”

Interestingly, the article says that a collection of Bush’s signing statements is not “readily accessible to lawmakers or the public,” but check out this remix by Coherent Babble. This site gives an index and full-text from 2001 – present scraped from whitehouse.gov and gpoaccess.gov (has anyone noticed gpoaccess’ terribly broken site search? I sent it in @ Aug, 2006 😐 ). Or if you want them farther back in time, UC Santa Barbara’s Presidency Project has all the signing statements from Hoover to G.W. Bush — as well as Public Papers, State of the Union addresses, inaugural & radio addresses, fireside chats, news conferences, executive orders, proclamations, debates, convention speeches and party platforms to boot!

Anyway, read the rest of the article:

House Panel Convenes Hearings on Bush’s ‘Signing Statements’

[Thanks Crooks and Liars!]

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