Monday, June 22, 2009

The Obama Factor: Bringing Change to the Five Day Rule

Remember that five day rule before Obama would sign a law? Changed.

Five months into his administration, Mr. Obama has signed two dozen bills, but he has almost never waited five days. On the recent credit card legislation, which included a controversial measure to allow guns in national parks, he waited just two.


Now, in a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign pledge was easier to make than to fulfill, the White House is changing its terms. Instead of starting the five-day clock when Congress passes a bill, administration officials say they intend to start it earlier and post the bills sooner.


Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning research organization, has tracked Mr. Obama’s bill-signing history. He said posting bills before final passage could be problematic because of last-minute changes.

One glaring example came in February, when it was discovered that the 1,071-page federal stimulus bill allowed millions of dollars in bonuses for American International Group executives.

If members of Congress know that final language will be “sitting out there” for five days, Mr. Harper said, they might be less likely to try to slip in questionable items. And if Mr. Obama keeps his pledge to wait five days, Mr. Harper said, he might set an example for Congress.

I have seen the light now. When Obama spoke about change, he meant for himself.

It seems others have seen the light too.

Thirty-four percent (34%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -2. That’s the President’s lowest rating to date and the first time the Presidential Approval Index has fallen below zero for Obama (see trends).

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