Congressional Appropriation Bill Receives Line-Item Vetoes
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): January 11, 2010 - On January 4, 2010, President Mori signed Congressional Act. No. 16-20 and designated it Public Law No. 16-18 with great reservations and several line item vetoes. This Act was to appropriate the sum of $3.5 million from the general fund for the purpose of funding economic and social projects and programs in the four FSM States. In total, only $199,000 of item vetoes were cut from the Act, but three full pages of text were generated in the President's transmittal letter to Congress to explain his concern with the current practice of creating social projects that are outside of the FSM's current Development Plan.
The main reason for the vetoes is based on the separation of powers of the two branches of government. Although Congress can appropriate monies from the FSM General Fund, the Executive Branch is constitutionally tasked with implementing the laws. In his message to Speaker Figir, the President highlighted certain flaws found in the Act in regards to the vagueness and ambiguity of the procedure to follow in implementing the projects funded pursuant to the Act. He quoted from the declaration set forth in the legal case of Udot Municipality v. FSM in that "Specific powers are given to each branch of government. When Congress is executing and implementing a national law, a power expressly delegated to the Executive Branch, it abridges the Executive's power to execute and implement national laws." 9 FSM Intrm. 418, 420 (Chk. 2000).
In the Act, there were several instances where line items were for "Project Management". All of these items were vetoed to be consistent with the decision in Udot Municipality v. FSM.
The majority of the text in the transmittal letter, however, focuses on the issue of aligning these appropriations with the FSM Development Plan. The President states that, "As leaders of the Nation, we owe to our constituents, the duty to build a workable development plan and to faithfully and systematically execute it to full implementation." He points out that the Act makes no attempt to link to the current development plan of the Nation and says that these public projects will amount to an inefficient political dole-out if there is no visible indication that it contributes to a meaningful economic-recovery strategy.
The President ends with an appeal to Congress to support the Strategic Development Plan of the Nation because it is critical for the achievement of economic progress for the Nation and for the social well being for our constituents.
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