New President, Old Precedent – CQ Homeland Security

The letter from four top House Democrats was a stark warning to the president. If you continue to insist that you don’t have to follow the conditions Congress placed on aid to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the lawmakers wrote, it will be “virtually impossible” for Congress to approve any more such aid in the future.

It was the sort of ultimatum Democratic lawmakers might have directed at President George W. Bush, back when Bush was taking the use of signing statements to new heights. The statements — official messages issued by presidents as they sign bills — can be ceremonial or a forum for presidents to voice limited objections to a law’s provisions, but Bush routinely used them to reject provisions as intrusions on his presidential authority.