Signing Statement on Defense Act

Upon signing the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018”, POTUS 45 issued a signing statement (now his seventh) that identifies concerns with the Congress’ attempts to limit or usurp executive authority.

This is not a new concern with Defense authorization bills. A year ago, President Obama also issued a strongly worded signing statement identifying several items as unconstitutionally attempting to control the executive branch.

While I have not taken the time to fully read and analyze the bill (and, at this point, I have no inclination to do so), based on some media reports earlier about what some members of Congress were trying to do, I suspect as least some of the provisions POTUS 45 objects to are related to putting some restraints on preemptive war, and, in particular, preemptive use of nuclear weapons. If that is the case, I applaud Congress’ efforts.


Official Title and Link: Statement by President Donald J. Trump on H.R. 2810

Signing Statement dated December 12, 2017

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Space Exploration

Yesterday a memorandum was signed that revises a June 2010 policy directive regarding space exploration. The operative part is quoted below:

The paragraph beginning “Set far-reaching exploration milestones” is deleted and replaced with the following:

“Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities. Beginning with missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the United States will lead the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations;”.


Official Title and Link: Presidential Memorandum on Reinvigorating America’s Human Space Exploration Program

Memorandum dated December 11, 2017

Four on 7th and 8th

Since my last post, four actions have been signed by POTUS 45.

On December 7th, the standard remembrance of Pearl Harbor proclamation was issued.

The following day, two proclamations and an executive order on various issues were signed. Nothing of great import, as far as I can tell.


Official Titles and Links:

Proclamations and Executive Order signed December 7 and 8, 2017

Jerusalem

All over the news the last few days in anticipation, this now official act recognizes the capital of Israel as Jerusalem and declares the U.S. embassy will be moved there. Because it is getting so much coverage, I will make only brief comments this time.

Some have questioned the timing of the action. On the one hand, it may well be doing this now provides a needed distraction from other controversies, such as the Russian investigation and the tax bill, and that is why routine extension was not the chosen action. On the other hand, some kind of action was going to be needed under any circumstances, because every six months since the late 1990s presidents have delayed moving the embassy to Jerusalem for purposes of stability and peace negotiation in the middle-east.

I am in agreement with the majority of the world in believing this action is more likely to create conflict and bloodshed than aid in any peace agreement.

[Ed. Note: For a little more background, see what I wrote about this in June and also last December.]


Official Title and Link: Presidential Proclamation Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel and Relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem

Proclamation dated December 6, 2017

Going Backwards?

Yesterday two proclamations were signed in Utah, both radically diminishing the size of National Monuments established by previous presidents – one in the mid-1990’s by President Clinton and the other just last year by President Obama.

Both proclamations are long, attempting to make the case the size should be reduced for various reasons, but fundamentally, the point is to allow for development of those lands. Already, law suits have been filed to block the actions.

There is no precedent for reversals such as these. Some have argued the President does not have authority to rescind a previous President’s actions.

We shall see as the legal process plays out.


Official Titles and Links:

Proclamations dated December 4, 2017

Two Proclamations

It has been a couple of weeks of non-activity, but as the new month approached, the first two proclamations for December were announced yesterday.


Official Titles and Links:

Proclamations dated November 30,2017