Why Is Congress Even Bothering To Pass Laws?

| Thu Oct. 19, 2006 4:06 PM EDT

George W. Bush has already made it clear that he may ignore parts of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act. To be exact, he has listed two dozens provisions in the act which he may trash, including the budget requirements for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush made his stand Tuesday in one of his now-famous "signing statements," which the White House maintains are not unlike other presidential signing statements, but which are, in fact, completely different. Instead of making notes about his personal interpretations of some laws, Bush has used the signing statement to eliminate parts of laws, or the spirit of entire laws, that he does not like.

Some Constitutional scholars say that it is within Bush's legal rights to reject the war budget because, they say, the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to tell the president (or, in this case, Bush) what to request or how to request it.

Bush's other objections include:

• A requirement that he name a "coordinator of policy on North Korea" within 60 days, and submit within 90 days an updated intelligence assessment on Iran.

• A call for reports on subjects ranging from an early education program for military children to a study on assessing the safety of the nuclear stockpile.

• A response plan for remediation of unexploded ordnance, discarded military munitions, and munitions constituents.

• A report on a program for replacement of nuclear warheads on certain Trident sea-launched ballistic missiles with conventional warheads.

• Energy efficiency in weapons platforms.

• A report on participation of multinational partners in the United Nations Command in the Republic of Korea.

• A report on the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

• Quarterly reports on Department of Defense response to threat posed by improvised explosive devices.

• A National Academy of Sciences study of quantification of margins and uncertainty methodology for assessing and certifying the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile.

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