- National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 is a law in the United States signed by President George W. Bush on January 28, 2008. As a bill it was H.R. 4986 in the 110th Congress. The overall purpose of the law is to authorize funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs. In the signing statement, President Bush instructs the executive branch to construe Sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222 "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President." However, his "instruction" is not legally binding, as the President does not decide how laws should be interpreted; the judiciary does. Nor can the President unilaterally change an Act of Congress; only Congress can do that.
Establishes a Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. This commission would study federal agency contracting for reconstruction, the logistical support of coalition forces, and the performance of security functions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the most important duties of this commission would be to assess the extent of potential violations of laws of war, Federal law, or other legal precedents as well as assess the extent of waste, fraud, and abuse under federal contracts. These provisions could be the basis for bringing criminal or civil charges against agencies under the executive branch.
Provides protection for contractor employees who wish to disclose wrong-doing to a member of the United States Congress or a Congressional committee member.
Directly deals with communications with the committee on Armed Forces in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, in which either the Senate or House could request an intelligence assessment, report, estimate, or legal opinion from the director of a national intelligence center. The section accounts for the possibility of the President invoking executive privilege, and contains a sub-section demanding the White House Counsel prepare a legitimate reason for invoking privilege.
Limits spending and funding for certain purposes relating to Iraq, "(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq. (2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."
In signing the law, the Bush administration continues its use of the signing statement to object to parts of laws it views as conflicting with what it alleges are the constitutional powers of the unitary executive, especially as they relate to national defense and the war in Iraq. The following Sections of the law referenced in the signing statement are listed, along with the possible impact of being mentioned in the signing statement:
- Section 841: May reduce oversight of contractual abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Section 846: Possibly limits protection to contractor employees when disclosing improper actions of the employer.
- Section 1079: Could limit how much intelligence information Congress can demand from intelligence officials.
- Section 1222: May limit Congressional oversight in the permanent establishment of U.S. military bases or the use of government funds to control oil resources in Iraq.
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