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Topical Resolution: On Presidential Signing Statements, No. 293

Adopted 2007 (Topical)

      Traditionally our Presidents respected the Congress sufficiently to sign and implement legislation with which the Presidents agreed, honoring Congressional intent. When Presidents have disagreed with the intent of legislation presented to them, they have usually vetoed the legislation, issuing a veto message to explain their reasons.

        On occasion, when Congressional intent was vague or subject to overbroad interpretation, Presidents have signed and implemented legislation with a signing statement expressing their honest understanding of the legislative intent. Otherwise, they have vetoed such allegedly flawed legislation. Otherwise, they have vetoed such allegedly flawed legislation with a veto message explaining how they believe that the intent of legislation, in the form presented, was bad law or policy.

         In gross violation of our long honored principles of separation of powers and mutual respect between the branches of the federal government, President George W. Bush has taken to signing Acts of Congress into law but refusing to implement them, or perverting the congressional intent. Through the issuance of Presidential Signing Statements, he is choosing to selectively implement the legislation.

         Setting aside whether this pattern and practice of violation of separation of powers and mutual respect for coequal branches constitutes a cause for more drastic remedy, the Americans for Democratic Action calls on Congress to take even greater care that the specific legislative intent is plainly evident and unequivocal on the face of controversial bills it enacts.

         Should the President continue this practice, ADA urges that Congress act to restore the Constitutional balance that our framers intended.

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Topical Resolution on Presidential Signing Statements

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