Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate's Katrina investigation, said its findings showed that the president needs a principal adviser for emergency management, as he has on military matters in the Joint Chiefs of Staff.And what was that requirement?
Congress sets job requirements for officials from the U.S. solicitor general to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she said. They are comparable to the five years of management experience and demonstrated emergency-management skills it mandated for the head of FEMA, she said. The director also should be allowed to make recommendations directly to Congress, she said, authority that the White House rejected.
"Congress needs a forthright assessment of the state of the nation's preparedness from the FEMA director," Collins said.(source: Washington Post)
To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has ``a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and ``not less than five years of executive leadership."
Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions.(source: Boston Globe)
While much hay has been made about the 700 mile fence of this bill, this blatant disregard for congressional oversight is just as much an outrage.
Washington Post, Bush Balks at Criteria for FEMA Director
Signing Statement Asserts Right to Ignore Parts of New Homeland Security Law, By Spencer S. Hsu, October 7, 2006
Boston Globe, Bush cites authority to bypass FEMA law
Signing statement is employed again by Charlie Savage, Globe Staff , October 6, 2006