U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Can President Bush Refuse to Follow the Expressed Will of Congress Concerning Nuclear Exports to India?

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This analysis questions President George W. Bush's reasons for refusing to follow a number of provisions of the U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act.

In his oral bill-signing statement to reporters and members of the public, President Bush praised the bill he was signing. He did not mention his disagreements with Congress on several of the provisions of the bill. However, in a separate written signing statement, he made clear that he, not Congress, conducts foreign policy and therefore has the greater say on what that policy should be. He declared: "Given the Constitution's commitment to the presidency of the authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, the executive branch shall construe such policy statements as advisory." Thus, he concluded, he will not follow some of the provisions of the new statute: "My approval of the Act [by signing it] does not constitute my adoption of the statements of foreign policy in the Act as U.S. foreign policy."

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