Thursday, July 13, 2006
You probably have not heard, but yesterday the president signed a bill entitled Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006. There was not much fanfare surrounding it. Apparently, this little passage within the bill was of great offense to Bush.
(c) Oversight Report- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, in consultation with the Government Accountability Office, shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on the status of the Coast Guard's implementation of the Government Accountability Office's recommendations in its report, GAO-04-380, entitled `Coast Guard Deepwater Program Needs Increased Attention to Management and Contractor Oversight', including the dates by which the Coast Guard plans to complete implementation of such recommendations if any of such recommendations remain open as of the date the report is transmitted to the Committees."Contractor Oversight"? We certainly can't have that in this administration. A veto would attract too much attention and give Congress a chance to override the President's actions. So the President decided to do what any good Unitary Executive would do, he made a signing statement.
The executive branch shall construe section 408(c) of the Act, which purports to make consultation with a legislative agent a precondition to execution of the law, to call for but not mandate such consultation, as is consistent with the Constitution's provisions concerning the separate powers of the Congress to legislate and the President to execute the laws.Voila. The President, with the sweep of a pen, has gotten rid of the Legislature's demand for oversight of Coast Guard contractors. The American corporate kleptocracy is now free to go on, unimpeded by that pesky Congressional oversight or government transparency.