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Tug of war on presidential papers' release

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A bipartisan proposal targeting White House rules on the release of presidential papers would claw back power over public records from the executive branch, advocates of the bill say.

The House measure, introduced yesterday, would overturn President Bush's 2001 executive order. Bush's order "gave current and former presidents and vice presidents broad authority to withhold presidential records or delay their release indefinitely," Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a bill sponsor, said in a statement yesterday...

Bush issued the order after the White House held up the release of 68,000 pages of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library documents in 2001. Under the previous system, the president, former presidents or designees had 30 days to review documents and lodge objections. Bush added reviews by the families of former presidents to the process, and removed the 30-day deadline. He also broadened the rules to encompass vice presidential papers.

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