Following Congress’ passage of the extension of the Patriot Act came the autopen-signature of the bill, because the president was in Europe at the time of passage and the Patriot Act was about to expire. However, Rep. Tom Graves, Pennsylvania Republican, expressed concern about the legitimacy of an act that was not signed by the president himself, and perhaps, not even looked at by President Obama either. The Hill reports:
In a letter Friday, Graves asks Obama to confirm that he saw the law prior to its autopen signing.
“Mr. President, I write to request your confirmation that S. 990, as passed by Congress, was presented to you prior to the autopen signing, as well as a detailed, written explanation of your Constitutional authority to assign a surrogate the responsibility of signing bills passed into law,” Graves wrote.
Obama signed the bill into law late Thursday night. The autopen was used because the president was in France, meeting with G8 leaders, and the bill’s provisions expired at midnight.
Graves cited Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution, which says that the president must sign a bill to approve it into law.
“Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it,” the article reads.
Read the letter at The Hill