Obama Quashes Bush Signing Statements

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2009 3:41 PM CDT
President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama today told government agencies to ignore George W. Bush’s signing statements, but has not sworn off the practice for his own administration, Politico reports. The statements, written when the president OKs a bill but disagrees with certain provisions, are often followed as if they were law. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Bush’s resulted in “people disregarding portions of legislation or the intent of Congress.”

Though Obama will exercise more discretion, Gibbs said the statements are part of presidential tradition. “This president will use signing statements,” he said, “in order to go back to what has previously been done—that is to enumerate constitutional problems that either the Justice Department or legislative counsel here see as potential problems with their reading—but not ask that laws be disallowed simply by executive fiat.”