The Obama Signing Statement

Two days after instructing the government to ignore President’s Bush’s signing statements, Obama has issued one of his own. In the statement—a direction to executive branch officials about how to implement the legislation—he reserves the right to bypass dozens of disputed provisions in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill. Obama writes that a provision instructing money not to be spent on any UN peacekeeping mission if it means putting US troops under a foreign commander “raises constitutional concerns by constraining my choice of particular persons to perform specific command functions in military missions.” He also takes on whistle-blower protections for federal employees; negotiations with other countries; what agencies should include in budget requests; and allowing money to be reallocated to a different program only with the approval of a congressional committee (an “impermissible forms of legislative aggrandizement”).