Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

More Power to the Pen: Bush Urges New Veto Tool ; the White House Proposed Legislation This Week That Would Give the Chief Executive a Line-Item Veto

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

More Power to the Pen: Bush Urges New Veto Tool ; the White House Proposed Legislation This Week That Would Give the Chief Executive a Line-Item Veto

Article excerpt

The presidential line-item veto is back.

As far back as the 1870s, with President Ulysses Grant, America's chief executives have yearned for such a tool - that is, the right to strike out sections of bills they deem objectionable, usually those involving spending.

Today, 43 of 50 governors enjoy that right, as part of many states' constitutional requirement to balance their budgets.

In 1996, Congress made Bill Clinton the first US president to have that power. It ended two years later, when the Supreme Court ruled that, because the Constitution does not expressly allow such action by the president, it forbids it. In short, under the Constitution, the president must either sign a bill in its entirety or not at all.

The Bush White House says it has found a constitutional way around that ruling, and on Monday, sent proposed legislation to Capitol Hill.

The legislation would allow the president to defer spending on items with which he disagrees, while signing the rest of a bill. Congress would then have 10 days to vote up or down on whether to fund the disputed items, without amendment or filibuster. Passage would be by majority, not the two-thirds margin traditionally required to override a veto.

Some legal scholars predict such a technique would pass constitutional muster, because it would give Congress the final word. Others are not sure, because it would allow the president to sign something into law - those elements he is not subjecting to a line-item veto - that is not identical to what both houses of Congress had passed.

"Is it a bill that qualifies in the constitutional sense?" asks Bruce Fein, a constitutional law expert and former Reagan administration official.

The White House argues that this veto tool would shine light on legislators' technique of planting pet projects into legislation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.