Monday, August 7, 2006

More Power

Quietly, a provision that would give the president the authority to call up the National Guard without giving notice to the states, was slipped into the defense authorization bill without asking for opinions or even giving notice to the state governors.
Under the provision, the president would have authority to take control of the Guard in case of "a serious natural or manmade disaster, accident or catastrophe" in the United States.
As you can probably imagine state governors aren’t too happy with this prospect and have launched a drive that would block this move during a closed door session of the National Governors Association.
At a closed-door luncheon on the opening day of the annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association, the chairman, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), told colleagues that a provision in the House-passed defense authorization bill would end the historic link between the states and their Guard units.

Huckabee and the association’s vice chairman, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), plan to ask all the governors at the session to sign a letter of protest Sunday aimed at killing the provision when House and Senate conferees meet next month on the bill.

Huckabee told reporters that the move to shift control of the Guard to the president during national emergencies "violates 200 years of American history" and is symptomatic of a larger federal effort to make states no more than "satellites of the national government."

President Bush himself hasn’t come out saying that he wanted this authority but according to the Huckabee, "the administration is supporting this" in a misguided reaction over the problems the government had responding to hurricane Katrina last year.

Putting aside the fact that this would take away the consent normally required by state government when a call up is requested, does anyone else see this as furthering the trend lately of the administration trying to gather more power?


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