Bush defies Congress on FEMA issue

| Friday, October 06, 2006

If you hauled loads for the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina, you may have occasionally scratched your head and asked, “Who’s running this operation?”

At the time, the answer was Michael Brown, who had no emergency preparedness background and went to FEMA after being fired as head of the Arabian Horse Association.

Now, according to the Boston Globe, President George W. Bush has added a controversial “signing statement” to a law just passed by Congress. The law requires any new head of FEMA to be a person with at least five years’ experience and a strong background in emergency preparedness.

However, Bush’s signing statement allows him to essentially ignore the new hiring requirements, which are part of a broader bill aimed at reducing fraud within FEMA’s ranks, the Globe reported.

Bush’s use of signing statements – which many previous presidents treated as more of a ceremonial gesture – has come under fire in recent months by the American Bar Association as a way to allegedly sidestep congressional oversight of the Executive Branch.

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