Monday, October 09, 2006

The Plot Thickens

I note that Mickey, Glenn, and Captain Ed have been expressing concern about the intent of the President and Congressional leadership toward the Secure Fence Act. Well, it seems that there's good news and bad news for fence advocates.

First the good news: I do not believe the President is approaching any pocket veto deadline for the fence legislation. The bad news is, it does not appear to have been sent to him for signature.

The Congress maintains a very useful online database of legislation known as Thomas. If you go to Thomas and look at the history of a bill that has been signed into law, you will see these lines at the end:

Cleared for White House.
Presented to President.

Well, go to Thomas, and look up HR 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006. If you click on 'Bill Summary and Status,' and then look at 'All Congressional Actions,' the last action you will see on the legislation is this:

Passed Senate without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 80 - 19. Record Vote Number: 262.

It's possible that this has simply not been updated, but I've always found Thomas to be accurate within a business day or so. I note that it records bills signed into law as recently as October 5, at least.

If the legislation has not been cleared for the White House and presented to the President, it can't be subject to a pocket veto. Of course, it can't be signed into law either. Congress does not have to be in session for legislation to be cleared for the White House and presented to the President, as long as the two Houses have previously approved such actions (CRS lays that out here). I don't know if that happened in this case, but it sounds to me like the sort of thing that's approved as a matter of routine.

Is the plan to wait until closer before the election, so the signing will be more dramatic? Or is it never to send it to the President, so no veto is reported? If the GOP in Washington knows what's good for them, the truth is closer to option 'A.' Furthermore, I suspect that if the answer were 'B,' guys like Tom Tancredo and JD Hayworth would be screaming bloody murder...

Update: The Corner reports that Patrick Ruffini of the RNC says that the President will sign the bill. Of course, Patrick could E-mail me, too! After all, I was defending the GOP!

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