President Obama stated adamantly that he is unwilling to sign a health care bill that will increase the deficit. For example, at his July 23 Shaker Heights press conference he explained:
I pledged that I will not sign health insurance reform — as badly as I think it’s necessary, I won’t sign it if that reform adds even one dime to our deficit over the next decade — and I mean what I say.
He means what he says. And in case what he said wasn’t clear enough, he repeated the promise at his August 11 town hall in New Hampshire:
I won’t sign a bill that adds to the deficit or the national debt.
So if Congress passes a health care bill, and Obama doesn’t sign it, what happens? The bill still becomes a law – if Congress stays in session. Or as the Constitution states:
If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
If President Obama is trying to make a meaningful promise to the American people, the word he needs to use is “veto”. Promising “not to sign” a bill is a carefully crafted dodge. President Obama has repeated this empty promise so many times that it has begun to appear intentionally deceptive.
So how about it, President Obama? Will you pledge to veto any bill that increases the deficit? And will you pledge to veto House Democrats’ current deficit-increasing health care proposal? Do you want to stop legislation that increases the deficit, or do you just not want your name on it?