I know you read the title of this post and thought, “No shit Sherlock.” While the title of this post is pointing out the bloody obvious overall, this post is referring to a recent development:
The funding provision for the federal health agency says that “none of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.” The language aims to ban taxpayer dollars from supporting gun safety research.
“I have advised the Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress’s consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient,” Obama said in a statement as he signed the bill into law.
The president’s signing statement also says he could end up ignoring a provision that bars taxpayer funds for paying for the “salaries and expenses” of so-called White House czars, including the director of the White House Office of Health Reform. The office was abolished earlier this year.
That provision “could prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities, by denying me the assistance of senior advisers and by obstructing my supervision of executive branch officials in the execution of their statutory responsibilities,” Obama said. “I have informed the Congress that I will interpret these provisions consistent with my constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Did Obama seriously claim he has the Constitutional authority to ignore Congress? That’s how I interpreted his statement. While I’m not a “constitutional scholar” as Obama claims himself to be I can read and comprehend basic English. Let’s look at what the Constitution has to say about federal funding:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
I read two things in this section; any bill involving money must originate in the House of Representatives and if a President finds any legislation passed by the House and Senate not to be to his liking he can refuse to sign it and send it back. In other words Obama doesn’t get any say in how money is spent and if he didn’t like the prohibition against using money to advance gun control he can only refuse to sign the legislation and tell the House and Senate why he doesn’t approve.
When a bill saying money can’t be used for a specific task hits the President’s desk it doesn’t mean he can simply say, “LOL, this part doesn’t apply to me.” Upon signing the bill the President must either agree to the entirety of the document or toss the entire bill back to Congress. It’s all or nothing.