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MONDAY, JANUARY 8, 2007
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EDITORIAL

If president dislikes bills, he should just veto them

Obituaries of President Ford brought out that he vetoed 66 bills in just over two years in office — a contrast to the current President Bush, whose only veto in almost six years concerned stem-cell research.

But Mr. Bush uses another tactic more often than all his predecessors put together, according to the American Bar Association. He has issued at least 750 signing statements when signing bills into law.

A signing statement means “OK, but ...” Last month, for example, Mr. Bush signed a law requiring government agents to obtain warrants before opening first-class letters, but his signing statement seemed to leave them some loopholes. Civil libertarians fear invasions of Americans’ privacy.

Signing statements look like a way to sneak around congressional intent without giving Congress the opportunity to override a veto. If Mr. Bush disagrees with legislation, he should veto it. A veto is more upfront and honest than a signing statement.

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