WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to take President Bush to court if he issues a signing statement to accompany the next Iraq war supplemental bill headed for his desk.
Pelosi, D-Calif., brought up the issue to a group of liberal bloggers, according to Kid Oakland, a blogger for dailykos.com.
"The president has made excessive use of signing statements and Congress is considering ways to respond to this executive branch overreaching,” Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi, told The Hill newspaper. “Whether through the oversight or appropriations process or by enacting new legislation, the Democratic Congress will challenge the president’s non-enforcement of the laws.”
Democrats tried to legally force President Richard Nixon to end bombing in Cambodia in the 1970s, but courts ruled that lawmakers couldn't sue over failure to get the issue through Congress. If a federal court case were to proceed, lawmakers would have to be granted "standing," in this case, the ability to assert that the president is ignoring the will of Congress.
House Democratic leaders offered a plan Tuesday that would fund the Iraq war through July and provide the option to cut off money if benchmarks are not met. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., also asked fellow lawmakers to consider a measure that would rescind congressional authorization in 2002 to go to war with Iraq.
“There was a ripple around the room” in support of the idea, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., told the newspaper
Last week Bush vetoed the Iraq war supplemental sent by Congress due to objections to a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq included in the legislation. But Pelosi's threat hinges on Bush using a signing statement, which allows him to adjust the meaning of the bill's intent, on the next war spending measure.