House Chairmen Warn Obama on Signing Statements

Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:41am

Four House chairmen on Tuesday warned President Barack Obama against ignoring their instructions for funding international financial institutions and threatened to stop providing the money.In a letter sent by Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), among others, the Democrats describe their surprise and disappointment with Obama’s signing statement on the latest supplemental spending bill. In his statement, Obama said he is not bound by certain reform provisions tied to funds for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, claiming that they would interfere with his authority to conduct foreign relations.“During the previous administration, all of us were critical of the president’s assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of Congressional statutes he was required to enforce. We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude,— states the letter, also signed by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.The lawmakers warn that if Obama will not abide by their terms, which they say were required to pass the bill, “we must make clear that, both as a matter of the personal preference of those of us signing this letter and as a practical matter from the standpoint of getting sufficient votes to pass these measures in the future, it will make it virtually impossible to provide further allocations for these institutions.—