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Obama's signing statements bring protests

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama is expanding his use of "signing statements" in which he claims authority to bypass provisions of bills, analysts say.

Despite blasting the unprecedented use of such signing statements by former President George W. Bush last year while on the campaign trail, Obama has used the power himself so far on five bills, in which he claims authority to bypass the provisions of measures he signs into law, The New York Times reported Sunday.

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His move to attach a signing statement to a bill that expanded assistance to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank while also requiring his administration to pressure the organizations into adopting certain policies brought protests from U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and David Obey, D-Wis., the newspaper said.

"During the previous administration, all of us were critical of the president's assertion that he could pick and choose which aspects of congressional statutes he was required to enforce," they wrote. "We were therefore chagrined to see you appear to express a similar attitude."

Administration officials told the Times Obama's signing statements are based on traditional interpretations of the Constitution, reflecting routine presidential reservations.

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