Friday, January 05, 2007

COLLINS WATCH Now she tells us:
I have long had concerns about the President's broad use of signing statements to raise questions about the executive's intention to comply with legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by the President.
She's been so concerned about it, in fact, that a search for the term "signing statement" on her website turns up yesterday's press release--and only yesterday's press release.

You don't suppose Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is pandering, do you?

UPDATE: In comments, Dean points to an October 6, 2006 Boston Globe article which portrays Collins as having "rejected Bush's suggestion that he can bypass the new FEMA laws."

But this doesn't tell us much: Collins isn't seen registering any qualms about the President's practice of issuing signing statements. All she's shown to be doing, in the article, is rejecting a particular bit of presidental legal analysis.

That said, I've now gone back and searched for evidence to support Collins' press release claim, and she comes out at least a tad better than I might have expected:

In a July 27, 2006 CQ Daily article, Collins is quoted as saying, "I don't think signing statements should be used to thwart the will of Congress or to undermine the laws that we pass."

And an October 16, 2006 Federal Times story mentions that Collins has signed a letter to the President stating, in part: "We continue to have concerns about your broad use of signing statements to raise questions about the executive's intention to comply with legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President."

(These are the only two public comments by Collins on the subject of signing statments that I can find--but if anyone turns up more, please do pass them along.)

So score one for Collins: She hasn't been completely mum on the issue these last six years.

Of course, it worth pointing out that both of the on-the-record comments I've been able to track down came within the last six months (during a period, incidentally, when the President's approval ratings have been at historic lows.)

So Collins may have "long" had misgivings about the President's use of signing statements. But--if we assume, as we should, that "long" means more than six months--I've yet to find any evidence to back up her claim.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.