Obama issues signing statement on $106B war bill

President Obama signed the $106 billion war-spending bill into law Friday, but not without taking a page from his predecessor and ignoring a few elements in the legislation.

Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill, including a final paragraph that outlined his objections to at least four areas of the bill.

ADVERTISEMENT
President George W. Bush was heavily criticized for his use of signing statements, declaring he'd ignore some elements of legislation by invoking presidential prerogative.

The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"Provisions of this bill...would interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions," Obama said in a statement.

"I will not treat these provisions as limiting my ability to engage in foreign diplomacy or negotiations," he added.

The sections in question would compel the administration to direct its World Bank representatives to pressure that institution to use metrics that "fairly represent the value of internationally recognized workers' rights. Organized labor groups had pushed for a revision of those standards.

The World Bank section would also push the bank to account for the costs of greenhouse gas in pricing out projects, and would require development banks to more fully disclose operating budgets.

The other section would require Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to develop a report with the heads of the World Bank and IMF "detailing the steps taken to coordinate the activities of the World Bank and the Fund" to eliminate overlap between the two.


According to the University of California at Santa Barbara's "American Presidency Project," Obama has issued five other signing statements since taking office.