Obama Promised Not to Use Signing Statements

Promises from Obama, however, are worthless.

Below the fold you will find the latest of many big ol’ signing statements from Barack Obama. This one was from National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

The man is shameless.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 2, 2013

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I have signed into law H.R. 4310, the “National

Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.” I have

approved this annual defense authorization legislation, as

I have in previous years, because it authorizes essential

support for service members and their families, renews vital

national security programs, and helps ensure that the

United States will continue to have the strongest military

in the world.

Even though I support the vast majority of the provisions

contained in this Act, which is comprised of hundreds of

sections spanning more than 680 pages of text, I do not agree

with them all. Our Constitution does not afford the President

the opportunity to approve or reject statutory sections one by

one. I am empowered either to sign the bill, or reject it, as

a whole. In this case, though I continue to oppose certain

sections of the Act, the need to renew critical defense

authorities and funding was too great to ignore.

In a time when all public servants recognize the need to

eliminate wasteful or duplicative spending, various sections in

the Act limit the Defense Department’s ability to direct scarce

resources towards the highest priorities for our national

security. For example, restrictions on the Defense Department’s

ability to retire unneeded ships and aircraft will divert scarce

resources needed for readiness and result in future unfunded

liabilities. Additionally, the Department has endeavored to

constrain manpower costs by recommending prudent cost sharing

reforms in its health care programs. By failing to allow

some of these cost savings measures, the Congress may force

reductions in the overall size of our military forces.

Section 533 is an unnecessary and ill-advised provision,

as the military already appropriately protects the freedom of

conscience of chaplains and service members. The Secretary of

Defense will ensure that the implementing regulations do not

permit or condone discriminatory actions that compromise good

order and discipline or otherwise violate military codes of

conduct. My Administration remains fully committed to

continuing the successful implementation of the repeal of Don’t

Ask, Don’t Tell, and to protecting the rights of gay and lesbian

service members; Section 533 will not alter that.

Several provisions in the bill also raise constitutional

concerns. Section 1025 places limits on the military’s

authority to transfer third country nationals currently held at

the detention facility in Parwan, Afghanistan. That facility is

located within the territory of a foreign sovereign in the midst

of an armed conflict. Decisions regarding the disposition of

detainees captured on foreign battlefields have traditionally

been based upon the judgment of experienced military commanders

and national security professionals without unwarranted

interference by Members of Congress. Section 1025 threatens to

upend that tradition, and could interfere with my ability as

Commander in Chief to make time-sensitive determinations about

the appropriate disposition of detainees in an active area of

hostilities. Under certain circumstances, the section could

violate constitutional separation of powers principles. If

section 1025 operates in a manner that violates constitutional

separation of powers principles, my Administration will

implement it to avoid the constitutional conflict.

Sections 1022, 1027 and 1028 continue unwise funding

restrictions that curtail options available to the executive

branch. Section 1027 renews the bar against using appropriated

funds for fiscal year 2012 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into

the United States for any purpose. I continue to oppose this

provision, which substitutes the Congress’s blanket political

determination for careful and fact-based determinations, made by

counterterrorism and law enforcement professionals, of when and

where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees. For decades,

Republican and Democratic administrations have successfully

prosecuted hundreds of terrorists in Federal court. Those

prosecutions are a legitimate, effective, and powerful tool in

our efforts to protect the Nation, and in certain cases may be

the only legally available process for trying detainees.

Removing that tool from the executive branch undermines our

national security. Moreover, this provision would, under

certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of

powers principles.

Section 1028 fundamentally maintains the unwarranted

restrictions on the executive branch’s authority to transfer

detainees to a foreign country. This provision hinders the

Executive’s ability to carry out its military, national

security, and foreign relations activities and would, under

certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of

powers principles. The executive branch must have the

flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with

foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee

transfers. The Congress designed these sections, and has here

renewed them once more, in order to foreclose my ability to shut

down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. I continue to

believe that operating the facility weakens our national

security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with

key allies, and strengthening our enemies. My Administration

will interpret these provisions as consistent with existing

and future determinations by the agencies of the Executive

responsible for detainee transfers. And, in the event that

these statutory restrictions operate in a manner that violates

constitutional separation of powers principles, my

Administration will implement them in a manner that avoids

the constitutional conflict.

As my Administration previously informed the Congress,

certain provisions in this bill, including sections 1225, 913,

1531, and 3122, could interfere with my constitutional authority

to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. In these

instances, my Administration will interpret and implement these

provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my

constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy. Section 1035,

which adds a new section 495(c) to title 10, is deeply

problematic, as it would impede the fulfillment of future U.S.

obligations agreed to in the New START Treaty, which the Senate
provided its advice and consent to in 2010, and hinder the

Executive’s ability to determine an appropriate nuclear force

structure. I am therefore pleased that the Congress has

included a provision to adequately amend this provision in

H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which I will

be signing into law today.

Certain provisions in the Act threaten to interfere with

my constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch.

Specifically, sections 827, 828, and 3164 could be interpreted

in a manner that would interfere with my authority to manage

and direct executive branch officials. As my Administration

previously informed the Congress, I will interpret those

sections consistent with my authority to direct the heads of

executive departments to supervise, control, and correct

employees’ communications with the Congress in cases where such

communications would be unlawful or would reveal information

that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential.

Additionally, section 1034 would require a subordinate to submit

materials directly to the Congress without change, and thereby

obstructs the traditional chain of command. I will implement

this provision in a manner consistent with my authority as the

Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the head of the

executive branch.

A number of provisions in the bill — including

sections 534(b)(6), 674, 675, 735, 737, 1033(b), 1068, and

1803 — could intrude upon my constitutional authority to

recommend such measures to the Congress as I “judge necessary

and expedient.” My Administration will interpret and implement

these provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my

constitutional authority.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,

January 2, 2013.

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2 Responses to Obama Promised Not to Use Signing Statements

  1. Matt says:

    I had forgotten about this phony reverence for the Founders, the Constitution, and the checks and balances of our system that he so publicly advertised pre-election.

  2. R.D. Walker says:

    Knowing what we know now, it is really quite remarkable to watch the shit just pour out of his mouth in that video. Fascinating, actually…

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