Bush says will defy key provisions in military spending bill

Yesterday, President Bush signed this year's bill for military spending. But as Congressional Quarterly reports today (sub required), he did so only while promising to ignore measures in the bill to ensure accountability for spending and promote self-determination in Iraq:

President Bush signed the fiscal 2008 Defense authorization bill into law Monday, but not before stating that he reserves the right to disregard several sections.

One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq's oil money.

The Institute has long been calling for a "Truman Commission" to ensure oversight of contracting dollars, and it was a major victory for this language to be included in the bill. It's also the first piece that Bush has pledged to side-step, according to CQ:

The first statute Bush considers optional is a provision written by Democratic senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri that would set up a latter-day version of the Truman Committee to look into "waste, fraud and abuse" in contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. One area of inquiry would be private security contractors such as Blackwater Worldwide.