In a statement, press secretary Jay Carney said the new bill "does not challenge the president's ability to collect intelligence, incapacitate dangerous terrorists and protect the American people."
Specifically, the bill would require that the military take custody of a suspect deemed to be a member of al-Qaida or its affiliates and who is involved in plotting or committing attacks on the United States. There is an exemption for U.S. citizens.
House and Senate negotiators added language that says nothing in the bill will affect "existing criminal enforcement and national security authorities of the FBI or any other domestic law enforcement agency" with regard to a captured suspect "regardless of whether such ... person is held in military custody."
The bill also says the president can waive the provision based on national security.First, there's no guarantee future presidents will act with the same "discretion" as Obama. (Some might actually be less reliant on the military, rather than more, tis true.)
"While we remain concerned about the uncertainty that this law will create for our counterterrorism professionals, the most recent changes give the president additional discretion in determining how the law will be implemented, consistent with our values and the rule of law, which are at the heart of our country's strength," Carney said.
Second, this does, indeed, gut the Posse Comitatus Act. Whether civil libertarians, or tea partiers, or other, will be more angry at Obama or at Congress remains to be seen. As it was, the House musters just more than 2/3 support; had Obama wanted a stand on principle, a veto probably could have been sustained.
Meanwhile, continuing in the 'lack of principles league," this time, the non-Constitutional division, Obama looks ready to cave on a "millionaires' surtax." This time, it's not just him, though. Congressional Democrats are also in the "fool me once, then please fool me again" league:
Yep, that's today's Democratic Party. Talk tough, then hit the plunger on the chess timer clock, wait fot the GOP to talk or act tougher, then "cave."Obama discussed the possibility of abandoning the millionaire tax, which Republicans strongly oppose, at a White House meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other top Senate Democrats, a senior Senate Democratic aide told Reuters."It remains to be seen if we will drop it," the aide said. "But we want to strike a deal and get this done."
Democrats will not consider making any offer on the millionaire surtax, however, until Republicans agree to negotiate, another Democratic aide said.