The Politics of Self-Destruction? (Update: Bill Not Presented Yet? Has the Clock Started?)

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 09, 2006 4:21 PM

Will Bush sign the border-fence bill or let it die via pocket veto?

Today's the last day for him to sign it, according to Rob.

The RNC sent me an e-mail saying he would, indeed, sign it. Clock's a-tickin'.

There has been some speculation in the blogosphere today that President Bush would not sign the Secure Fence Act, after signing a bill for funding border fencing last week. This is not the case. President Bush will sign the Secure Fence Act.

The CNN clip from President Bush cited by Mickey Kaus is the definitive record on this, and reflects his intention to sign the bill.

This isn't at all my issue, so I'll let Michelle address the potential problems in the bill.

The bill he did sign in Arizona to much fanfare, by the way, was just the appropriations bill for the fence.

Capt. Ed's not sure the pocket veto would actually kill the bill, in this situation, but even if it doesn't, President Bush is sending a message through inaction-- "How do I demoralize thee? Let me count the ways." Let's hope it's all speculation and a bit of unseemly foot-dragging on the part of the White House.

If he thinks we must have comprehensive reform, fine. Keep working on it, President Bush, but enthusiastically sign this part of reform, this modicum of security into law right now, so you can retain a few folks in Congress to talk to about the rest of your plans. Geezy peezy.

Work with me, people. I'm watching the wires for the signing story. Come on, now.

Update: A reader (Thanks, SCSoxfan!) comments and e-mails thusly about this dust-up (emphasis mine):

You have not seen an announcement of a signing today 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." This record is updated to reflect when presentation has occurred so, as of today, 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.

I don't know much about this procedural stuff, admittedly. Anyone? I'm checking with my Senatey friend who knows more about this than I do. Sounds plausible, though. 

Update: Here's the Thomas page for H.R. 6061 that lists "Major Congressional Actions." Passing is listed, but no "presentation."

Update: Allah gets the same message and thinks our very smart reader is right.