I came across the article below on my Facebook feed the other day with the comment, “And why do we like this guy?”
The post link to an article in Hot Air that portrays Obama as a Constitution-trodding swindler of sorts, accusing him of “bypassing” Congress by “waiving” this statutory restriction.
The language of the Palestinian Accountability Act could not be clearer: “[N]o funds available to any United States Government department or agency … may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.” Obama literally waived that statutory language off yesterday afternoon.
The right-winger goes on to blame Palestine’s failure to implement the Road Map for Peace, while they conveniently leave out the fact that Israel has not implemented the plan either. Posters to this link tried to play the Congress-as-the-President’s-councilors card, but that dog don’t hunt. What would checks and balances be if the President looked to Congress to guide all executive decisions? Nonexistent, that’s what they’d be.
The President did not bypass Congress. On the contrary, he followed the letter of the law that Congress passed. Below, the text of said law.
Sec. 7040. (a) Prohibition of Funds.–None of the funds appropriated by this Act to carry out the provisions of chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 may be obligated or expended with respect to providing funds to the Palestinian Authority.(b) Waiver.–The <<NOTE: President. Certification.>> prohibition included in subsection (a) shall not apply if the President certifies in writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore of the Senate, and the Committees on Appropriations that waiving such prohibition is important to the national security interests of the United States.
There’s more in there about reports to Committee and Palestine meeting their obligations with regard to the Road Map, but I won’t bore you with them, you can read them for yourself if you’re having trouble sleeping.
So, the President wrote a memo to the aforementioned representatives.
“I hereby certify that it is important to the national security interests of the United States to waive the provisions of section 7040(a) of the Act, in order to provide funds appropriated to carry out Chapter 4 of Part II of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, to the Palestinian Authority.”
No bypass, no unprecedented usurpation of Congressional power, no “triple play.” And frankly, you and I don’t have the clearance to know the relevant “national security” details because we don’t have a ‘need to know’.
The simple fact is, the right-wing will be anti-Palestine as long is it is politically advantageous to be such. The moral of the story is, if you don’t want the President to have the power to do something, don’t give it to him.