We Welcome Senator Byrd's comments, and that fact that he considers the reading community of HuffingtonPost.com (an important and growing "blog") worthy of going to the Senate floor to make a speech detailing his stand against President Bush's childish use of the veto threat.
CONFRONTING the illegal, immoral, incompetent, and often criminal activities of the George Bush administration is the most pressing crisis facing this nation - of which the Iraq war is only one part. Just this week, the Assistant ARMY SECRETARY and KBR corporation are under investigation for WHOLESALE FRAUD in Iraq reconstruction contracts - the President's own SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, being questioned about rank corruption and war profiteering, in a war that Mr. Bush tells us is vital to the future security of the United States! What kind of INCOMPETENT officers would the president choose, who allow such ABJECT FAILURE AND CORRUPTION to be the hallmark of his war in Iraq?
The President's Veto Threat DOES NOT DICTATE LAW in America.
By Senator Robert Byrd (D) West Virginia
April 20, 2007
Thank you for the overwhelming response to the blog I posted on Monday. I have enjoyed reading your comments, especially those encouraging Congress not to back away from the supplemental legislation despite the president's repeated veto threats. On Tuesday afternoon I decided to go down to the Senate floor and respond to your comments.
I will continue to defend Congress's Constitutional obligation to legislate for the people and act independently from the White House.
Here is a portion of my remarks:
"The 110th Congress will consider legislation this session that raises passions and excites partisan fervor. It is likely that much of what the Congress considers this year and next will be subject to presidential veto threats, because the president's political party no longer controls the Congress.
Members of Congress and the people understand that when the president submits a bill to Congress, and then asks that it be passed without any amendments or conditions, the president is treating the Congress like a subordinate branch, capable of only saying "Yes" or "No," and never expected to alter a presidential proposal in any way. It is an argument that contradicts the most basic Constitutional principles on which our Republic is founded. The Congress was envisioned as a check on an overzealous or unwise president, and we do our duty to the Constitution when we vigorously utilize our enumerated powers.
Members of Congress are elected to make laws based on sound public policy, not to capitulate to presidential threats. The Senate must never become a rubberstamp for any president. Certainly, the Congress should carefully consider the announced reasons for a presidential veto, but the Congress has a duty, if the president's reasons are not credible or do not reflect the will of the people, to overturn presidential vetoes. The vote on the override is a healthy public opportunity for Members of Congress to consider the reasons offered by the president for his veto. Just as the president is held accountable for his veto, Senators are held accountable for their votes on bills that are sent to the president, and, if applicable, a subsequent veto override vote.
So let us hear no more about measures that the president has threatened to veto being not worthy of the Senate's consideration. Let the president issue his veto threats, but also let the Congress dutifully represent the will of the people.
I have been chagrined of late to hear the repeated falsehoods and scare tactics emanating from the Oval Office. President Bush has falsely stated that the supplemental as written would cause death and destruction in America. The president has also said that the bill does not fund the troops, which is false. In fact, the Senate bill provides $2 billion more than the president requested for the troops and provides $1.8 billion more for veterans' health care. Congress and the American people support our troops and the supplemental bill we shall shortly take to conference robustly funds their needs in the field and cares for their needs after they return home.
I shall hope for a more reasonable and more realistic tone from our president in the coming days. More light and less heat on this matter would truly be in the best interests of our troops of our sorely divided country."