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Bush asks for line item veto
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 06, 2006

The president who has never vetoed a single bill is asking for the power to veto specific items within bills sent to him:
President Bush plans to send proposed legislation to Congress on Monday that would allow him to control spending by vetoing specific items in larger bills, a Bush administration official said.
My question is why would the Supreme Court find a new version of the law any more acceptable than the last version which it found unconstitutional?
President Clinton got that wish in 1996, when the new reform-minded Republican majority in the House helped pass a line-item veto law.

Two years later, the Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional because it violated the principle that Congress, and not the executive branch, holds the power of the purse.

UPDATE: Per ABC News (radio) the difference in this bill and the last would be the fact Congress would have the final say in terms of approving or disapproving the President's deletions (sounding more and more like political CYA, but it would bring wasteful spending to light and it would require Congress to purposely override the veto on the spending. Hey, a little more sunlight on a very murky process).

Verified by AP:
Instead, Bush is proposing that he be allowed to send Congress proposals to strike earmarks from spending bills and special interest tax breaks and that Congress be required to bring them to a vote. Constitutional scholars say this version should pass muster with the Supreme Court.
Another interesting note:
Bush's version was actually pushed by Democrats in the 1990s - including Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, who filed suit against the 1996 law. John Kerry, D-Mass., pushed a similar approach in his presidential campaign.

Still, a proposal similar to Bush's veto plan was actually voted down by the House two years ago a 174-237 vote, with three out of four Democrats voting "nay."
Something to be kept in mind, Democrats have been very vocal in their concern about expanding Presidential power. Given the Byrd and Kerry proposals, it'll be interesting to watch to see if they're still as enthusiastic about giving the president such power now as they were then.

UPDATE II: The new Majority Leader in the House, John Boehner, weighs in on the line item veto:
"I have always supported giving the President the authority to exercise the line item veto as a means to help rein in wasteful spending. It is a useful tool that rejects the status quo as well as the agenda of more government spending that congressional Democrats want desperately to protect. It is important that any proposal give the President real authority to eliminate worthless pork in the budget and meet the test of Constitutionality as well. As Republicans move forward on putting together a responsible budget, we will be discussing this issue as a Conference."
We'll see, won't we ... about the "responsible budget" I mean. We'll also see if the Democrats think this is a good idea anymore ... the line item veto, I mean.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I’d love to see the line item veto restored, but if the courts don’t like it, then we should enact legislation that satisfies the courts’ objections.

Short of a Constitutional amendment authorizing the line item veto, Congress could pass a law saying that every individual spending item must be in a separate bill, and must be voted on independent of all others. That way, the President could veto spending items as he sees fit.

Unfortunately, this would never work. Congress would be so busy voting on bills for separate spending items that they wouldn’t be able to do anything else. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that...) Soon, Congress would find ways to consolidate spending items into larger bills. And eventually, we’d have the same spending system we have now.

But a guy can dream, right?
Written By: Steverino
Of course, this bill will be different... as the composition of the USSC will be different, so that the court could now say, "Oh this bill is different than THAT bill, and is Constitutional."

Or this could all be politics, of course...
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

Check out the Balanced Budget Veto. It’s a pretty well thought out proposal that takes into account checks and balances, the defintion of the deficit, and how enforcement would not be based on judicial punishment but political punishment.
Written By: Logan
URL: http://
Slick’s a good way to look like Bush and the GOP want to get out in front of the pork/waste/earmark reform issue, and it puts the Dems in a bit of a box no matter what position they take. If they go along, Bush can claim a "victory" on the issue, if they obstruct, they will look bad.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Yeah, it’s good politics, and if it doesn’t pass, Bush has an excuse for why he hasn’t... oh, I’ll be kind, "hasn’t made the choice" to veto any spending bills yet.

Should it fail, someone - not him, of course, but someone like Scott McClellan or Andy Card - will then ruminate about how "Gosh, the President would veto individual examples of pork, but since he doesn’t have line-item veto, he feels that the Congress bears the responsibility of controlling spending while he insures vital federal programs necessary for our national defense remain funded."

(Unwillingness to veto wasteful spending bills is my major area of disappointment with Bush over the last 5 years)

Being as I’m too lazy to look up the relevant ruling right now, what actual reasons, if any, did SCOTUS give for denying the last Line Item Veto? Seperation of Powers?
Written By: Dave
URL: http://
Seperation of Powers?
Yup. It essentially said that’s Congress’ job, not the presidents. The twist here is that by giving it back to Congress for final approval, it may be acceptable Constitutionally.
Written By: McQ
It is a useful tool that rejects the status quo as well as the agenda of more government spending that congressional Democrats want desperately to protect.
To Rep. Boehner~

I am often told I’m out of touch with the way things really are, but hasn’t the Republican party essentially controlled Congress and the White House since 2001? Hasn’t the federal budget and deficit expanded significantly during that time? Isn’t Don Young a Republican? Somewhere I missed the part where Republicans became trusted guardians of the fisc.
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
John Kerry to Introduce Line-Item Veto Proposal - “Let’s Hold the President’s Feet to the Fire”
Written By: Kerry’s Enthusiastic
URL: http://
Wow, a rare case of Kerry taking the right tack with an issue....if Bush gets it, while he can declare a victory on the issue, he WILL have to use it, otherwise he hands the Dems an even bigger victory.
Written By: shark
URL: http://

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