WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff” Wednesday evening by autopen, the White House announced, ending a tense month in the nation’s capital.
Obama left the White House for Hawaii late Tuesday night 44 minutes after the House of Representatives approved the bill. The bill was enrolled Wednesday before being sent to the White House for the President’s signature, but with Obama 4,800 miles away he directed it to be signed using an automatic signature machine.
“We received the bill late this afternoon, and it was immediately processed,” a senior White House official said early Thursday morning. “A copy was delivered to the President for review. He then directed the bill be signed by autopen.”
In 2011, Obama used the machine to sign a bill extending the Patriot Act for four years while the president was in Europe. In previous years, White House officials would fly with the original copy of the bill to the president’s location for signature.