President Barack Obama’s staff used an autopen (a machine that mimics one’s signature) to sign the “fiscal cliff” legislation that Congress passed on New Year’s Day. There was no ceremony or photo-op for the autopen bill signing.
First, the White House announced that “the President signed into law.” “On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, the President signed into law,” said press secretary Jay Carney, suggesting that Obama had physically signed the bill. “H.R. 8, the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” which makes permanent the temporary rates on taxable income at or below $400,000 for individual filers and $450,000 for married individuals filing jointly; permanently indexes the Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount to the Consumer Price Index; extends emergency unemployment compensation benefits and Federal funding for extended benefits for unemployed workers for one year; continues current law Medicare payment rates for physicians’ services furnished through December 31, 2013; extends farm bill policies and programs through September 30, 2013; and provides a postponement of the Budget Control Act’s sequester for two months.”
Within thirty minutes, the White House seems to have directed the pool reporter to send this note to reporters, from an unnamed “senior White House official”: “We received the [‘fiscal cliff’] bill late this afternoon, and it was immediately processed. A copy was delivered to the President for review. He then directed the bill be signed by autopen.”
Source: THE WEEKLY STANDARD