Washington, D.C. This Independence Day, American flags flying at the White House, Pentagon and other federal buildings around the nation's capital could come under the orders of three new bosses - the governors of Maryland and Virginia and the mayor of the District of Columbia.
President Bush has until the end of Monday, July 2, to approve or reject legislation that would give governors nationwide new authority to order American flags lowered on federal buildings - not just state agencies - as a way of honoring hometown soldiers killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The bill would treat the mayor of Washington, D.C., as a governor.
While the goal is to ensure consistency in displays of Old Glory, the legislation thrusts the Bush White House into a peculiar spot - physically and politically.
If Bush signs the bill or lets it pass into law by taking no formal action, he will give the District of Columbia's Democratic mayor and the Democratic governors of Maryland and Virginia the power - if they choose to use it - to order flags lowered at the Republican White House, the U.S. Capitol, the National Security Agency and other high-profile sites, as a way of honoring local war dead.