Just read this from The Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON — President Bush this week asserted that he has the executive authority to disobey a new law in which Congress has set minimum qualifications for future heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. […]
Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions.
Key phrase from above: “under his interpretation of the Constitution…”
The law, Bush wrote, “purports to limit the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the president may select the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office.”
Yeah, like running horse associations. I mean, let’s face it, regardless of whether or not Michael Brown was made into an scapegoat unfairly, the bottom line is that he did not have the qualifications to head FEMA. He just didn’t. Bush hired a crony and this bill was attempting to make sure that didn’t happen again…or at least it was making sure it would be a minimally qualified crony.
Also, FEMA is, for all intents and purposes, an unmitigated disaster right now. New rules and limits need to be put in place. And yet, if anybody tries to take even the slightest bit of power out of this President’s hands, he balks.
And one last thing, that should make everybody shudder since one of the biggest reasons the FEMA response was so poor is because it had to go “up the chain.”
But Bush’s signing statement challenged at least three-dozen laws specified in the bill. Among those he targeted is a provision that empowers the FEMA director to tell Congress about the nation’s emergency management needs without White House permission. This law, Bush said, “purports . . . to limit supervision of an executive branch official in the provision of advice to the Congress.” Despite the law, he said, the FEMA director would be required to get clearance from the White House before telling lawmakers anything.