Yesterday I posted about the fact that despite the victory cheers from Republicans surrounding the passage of the Secure Fence Act through Congress, which would require the building of a 700 mile fence along our southern border, President Bush has yet to sign that legislation into law.
The legislation went to the President on September 29th, and the Constitution gives the President 10 days to either veto it or sign it into law. If Congress is in session and the President doesn’t sign or veto legislation it becomes law by default. But if Congress isn’t in session when the 10 days are up (and Congress has already recessed for the campaign season), the law doesn’t become law. It is essentially vetoed with no chance for an override vote in Congress. This is called a pocket veto.
I’ve been watching the news page on the White House website and I’ve yet to see any indication that the President is going to sign this legislation into law. If the President doesn’t sign this it will be a rather hard slap in the face for his conservative base, and today (by my count) is the last day he can do it before the time limit expires.
Republicans have been telling their base that, although many of them still support “path to citizenship” and amnesty legislation for illegals already in this country, they are committed to securing our southern border and this Security Fence Act is a testament to that. If that all turns out to be a bunch of hot air, a ruse to placate conservative voters concerned about illegal immigration, this Republican is going to be very upset with his party.
And I don’t think I’ll be the only one.
Update: Just got an email from the RNC eCampaign telling me that Bush is going to sign this bill into law after all.
So, disaster averted I guess, though it would have been nice for the President to show a little more enthusiasm for the bill.
Update: Bush may not be on the clock yet as per SCSoxFan in the comments:
You have not see an announcement of a signing because the bill has not been presented to the White House yet. The Constitution gives the President ten days to sign a bill after presentation. At Thomas.gov “presentation” is explained: “In actual practice, the Clerk, or the Secretary of the Senate when the bill originated in that body, delivers the original enrolled bill to a clerk at the White House and obtains a receipt. The fact of the delivery is then reported to the House by the Clerk. Delivery to a White House clerk has customarily been regarded as presentation to the President and as commencing the 10-day constitutional period for presidential action.”
As of three minutes ago, Thomas.gov reports the results for HR.6061 as “9/29/2006 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Passed Senate without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 80 – 19. Record Vote Number: 262.” The bill has not been officially/legally “presented” to the White House so the ten day clock has not started. I suspect the President is waiting for a more politically opportune time to sign this, closer to the election.
That’s right, actually. Here’s the Thomas page for the legislation. It hasn’t been presented to the President yet, so obviously he can’t have signed it.
Heartening news. Perhaps the President is simply waiting to sign it closer to the election for political reasons.
Update: The Whistler has more over on the reader blogs.