President Bush Signs Syria Accountability Act
Late Friday afternoon President Bush signed into law H.R. 1828, the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003. While the President did not specifically indicate whether he would invoke the waiver authority provided for in the legislation, the statement issued in connection with the signing of the bill appears to indicate that he is leaning in that direction. Specifically, the President noted that "a law cannot burden or infringe the President's exercise of a core constitutional power by attaching conditions precedent to the use of that power" and that the "executive branch shall construe and implement section 5 in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs and as Commander in Chief. . . "
These are strong statements that are certainly going to generate a strong negative response from member of Congress. Several members of Congress indicated after the bill was passed that any waiver of the Syrian sanctions by the President should be invoked sparingly and would "be given the strictest scrutiny by Congress."