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Czars Stay: Obama Ditches Campaign Promise to Never Use 'Special Signing Statement

Czars Stay: Obama Ditches Campaign Promise to Never Use 'Special Signing Statement


The president signed into law today the $38 billion in budget cuts that the House and Senate approved earlier in the week week. But Obama said that there were certain provisions of the bill that he would not abide by.

Namely, the provision defunding the czars.

Jake Tapper of ABC explains:

Last week the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans were involved in intense negotiations over not only the size of the budget for the remainder of the FY2011 budget, and spending cuts within that budget, but also several GOP “riders,” or policy provisions attached to the bill.

One rider – Section 2262 -- de-funds certain White House adviser positions – or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.

But remember this?

Earlier this evening, Obama signed the budget bill, with the czars provision attached to it, according to the AP. At the same time, he issued a "signing statement"objecting to the defunding of the czars provision--and a couple others:

In an accompanying signing statement, however, Obama questioned the constitutionality of a provision in the spending bill that prevents the White House from retaining special policy advisers, or "czars." He also objected to two other sections that block the transfer of terrorist suspects from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States or to other countries.

The president basically told Congress to shove it, issuing this statement about the provision defunding the czars:

The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority...The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

The president went on, “the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”

Tapper translates:. "In other words: we know what you wanted that provision to do, but we don’t think it’s constitutional, so we will interpret it differently than the way you meant it."

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