Legislation & Lobbying

Bush Makes Good on Signing Vows

A study by the Government Accountability Office has identified several examples in which the White House did not carry out new laws.

The GAO tracked 19 instances in which President Bush indicated in signing statements that he intended to disregard or decline to enforce legislation that he signed into law. Nearly a third of the time, Bush made good on his word, and the laws were not carried out as written, the Washington Post reports.

For example, the Defense Department ignored a law requiring it to show budget details of military operations. In another example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it considered a law to be advisory that required it to relocate border checkpoints near Tucson every seven days.

The ABA House of Delegates adopted policy opposing the “misuse” of such statements in August 2006.

Congressional leaders condemned the apparent power grab by the executive branch, and said it infringes on the constitutional powers of the legislative branch, reports the Boston Globe.

“The administration is thumbing its nose at the law,” says John Conyers, D-Mich., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and is calling for “extensive review” of how the government has complied with hundreds of other laws challenged by Bush.

But Erik Ablin of the Justice Department says otherwise. “We reject allegations that the administration is ignoring or selectively following the law,” he told the Globe.

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