Congress actually did something constructive this year: It included a provision in the "Homeland Security" bill requiring that anyone appointed to head the Federal Emergency Management Administration be experienced in disaster relief.
Seems like an obvious thing to do after the debacle of Hurricane Katrina, doesn't it?
But Bush didn't think so. According to the Boston Globe, when he signed the law, he added a signing statement saying it is unconstitutional for Congress to set limits on who he appoints as FEMA administrator.
In other words, he's defending his right to put another hack like Michael Brown in the job. Even if he's right about whether Congress can make requirements for appointed officials -- and I don't think he is -- it's a heckuva of thing to take a stand in favor of the right to appoint incompetents.
According to the Globe, three senators who've tended to go along with Bush most of the time -- Republican moderate Susan Collins of Maine, occasional Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and traitor former Democrat Joe Lieberman of Connecticut -- have sent him a letter criticizing the signing statement. Balkinization has posted a copy of their letter in PDF form here.
The section in question -- Section 503(c)(2) of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007, (H.R.5441) -- provides as follows:
QUALIFICATIONS- The Administrator shall be appointed from among individuals who have --You can find the whole Homeland Security bill by searching on H.R. 5441 on the Library of Congress Thomas site.
(A) a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management and homeland security; and
(B) not less than 5 years of executive leadership and management experience in the public or private sector.