You are herecontent / House overturns Bush order on papers secrecy

House overturns Bush order on papers secrecy


By Peter Szekely, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Brushing aside a veto threat, the House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to overturn a 2001 order by President George W. Bush that lets former presidents keep their papers secret indefinitely.

The measure, which drew bipartisan support and passed by a veto-busting 333-93 margin, was among White House-opposed bills the House passed that would widen access to government information and protect government whistleblowers.

"Today, Congress took an important step toward restoring openness and transparency in government," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said.

The presidential papers bill nullifies a November 2001 order, criticized by historians, in which Bush allowed the White House or a former president to block release of a former president's papers and put the onus on researchers to show a "specific need" for many types of records.

Among beneficiaries of the Bush order was Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, a former vice president and president.

The order gave former vice presidents the right to stop the release of their papers through an executive privilege that previously only presidents could use. And it extended to deceased presidents' designees rights to keep their papers secret indefinitely.

The House bill would give current and former presidents 40 business days to object to requests to view their papers, allow a sitting president to override a former president's claim of executive privilege and strip former vice presidents and the designees of deceased presidents of the power to use executive privilege to block access to their historical documents.

In its veto warning, the White House said the bill encroaches on the president's constitutional authority and the 40-day deadline would force presidents to use executive privilege to block information requests "out of an abundance of caution" and thereby invite litigation.

The real reason, the White House said, for delays of up to five years in releasing presidential papers to researchers is a lack of archivists at presidential libraries.

Many historians, however, support the House bill, saying the Bush order has slowed the declassification process.

Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archives at George Washington University, said the average time to release presidential documents has grown to 78 months from 18 months since the Bush order, which he said directly contributed to one year of the lag.

A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate.

Also passed by the House by a 331-94 margin, despite another veto threat, was a bill aimed at bolstering protections of government whistleblowers who report wrongdoing, especially those with private contractors and national security and scientific agencies.

A third bill, which passed 308-117, was aimed at speeding requests for government information made under the Freedom of Information Act. The White House stopped short of threatening to veto it but said it could not support the bill.

Tags

Speaking Events

2016

 

March 24, Boone, NC.

 

March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

 

War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
Sign up on FB.

 

April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
7:30pm
Sign up on FB.

 

April 16 Portland, OR

 

April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
Sign up on FB.

 

May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Sign up on FB.



May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
Sign up on FB.



May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event

 


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
Sign up on FB.

 

June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.

 

Other Events Here.

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.