Today I have signed into law H.R. 2638, the "Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009." The Act, consisting of five divisions, consolidates into a single Act several appropriations bills. It provides through emergency supplemental appropriations additional Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 resources needed for relief and recovery from hurricanes, floods, and other disasters, and other supplemental appropriations.
The Act also includes full-year FY 2009 appropriations for the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security and for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. Furthermore, the Act provides FY 2009 appropriations to continue operations of the Federal Government through March 6, 2009, for projects and activities not otherwise covered in the full-year bills. This Act lifts the legislative moratoria on oil and gas leasing on significant portions of the Outer Continental Shelf and the prohibition on the completion of regulations for commercial leasing of oil shale, which will allow us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
I am disappointed that the Congress passed a long-term continuing resolution. There is much work to be done, and the Congress should not adjourn for the year without finishing important business on spending, taxes, and free trade agreements.
Finally, this legislation contains certain provisions similar to those found in prior appropriations bills passed by the Congress that might be construed to be inconsistent with my Constitutional responsibilities. To avoid such potential infirmities, the executive branch will interpret and construe such provisions in the same manner as I have previously stated in regard to similar provisions.
GEORGE W. BUSH
The White House, September 30, 2008.