Ben Johnson, The White House Watch
Emily Miller of The Washington Times reports that Obama plans to violate the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill he signed on Friday. Instead, he issued a signing statement that he and Eric Holder’s Justice Department believe the bill is “subject to well-founded constitutional objections.” (Here’s the text of the statement.)
What are they? That Congress has asked to be notified if U.S. troops are placed under foreign command. It does not ban the practice of placing U.S. troops under foreign generals; it simply requires that Congress be notified beforehand. Yet Obama whines the bill he signed “disallows the expenditure of funds ‘for any United Nations peacekeeping mission that will involve United States Armed Forces under the command or operational control of a foreign national,’ unless my military advisers have advised that such an involvement is in the national interest, and unless I have made the same recommendation to the Congress.”
Placing U.S. troops under foreign command has been controversial for decades — and had been unthinkable for more than 100 years after the ratification of the Constitution. Then-Congressman Doug Bereuter, R-Nebraska, said on the House floor in 1995, “There is a serious question whether foreign command can ever be constitutional.” Even those on the Right who would allow the possibility do so only under limited circumstances. Liberals in the Justice Department have argued for the president’s unlimited use of the military, under UN command, just as long. Evidently this president views Congressmen asking him for notification when he is violating their war-making powers beyond the pale.
Obama is also livid Congressional Republicans have “once again included provisions that would bar the use of appropriated funds for transfers of Guantanamo detainees into the United States.” Obama threatened to use executive powers to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to the mainland last December, before backing down.
The bill — which Obama signed — defunded four of his nine czars. Zero-funding these offices, Obama wrote, “could prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities.”
Altogether, these acts, Obama writes, represent “constitutionally impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement.”
Obama had criticized George W. Bush for using signing statements (rightly, in my opinion) but began using them himself shortly into his first year in office. As this author was the first to report, since losing control of Congress, Obama has ruled by executive order, regulation, and federal fiats, side-stepping Congress altogether.
This kind of move shows just how shameless Obama is: He is willing to use a signing statement to ignore provisions of a law he signed in order to preserve his ability to engage in a practice that almost certainly violates the U.S. Constitution. Quin Hillyer at The American Spectator summarizes:
This isn’t just a matter of choosing how to interpret unclear provisions of a law; this is explicitly refusing to abide by clear-as-day provisions in a law he just signed. As I have written repeatedly, this man has dangerously authoritarian tendencies. He is a menace.
Obama is a menace to our freedoms that must be removed from office.