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11/09/2004

Line-Item Veto Is Back

The line-item veto, left for dead after failing a Supreme Court challenge in 1998, is slated for resurrection as a key piece of President Bush’s second-term budget policy, White House aides said last Friday.

What is Line-Item Veto?

In a nutshell no President should have that kind of power, but here is the official definition:

At various times, Congress has given the President statutory authority not to spend appropriated funds. That authority was elaborated and made more systematic with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, which permitted the President to delay the expenditure of funds (deferral authority) and to cancel funds (rescission authority). To rescind funds, the President needed the support of both houses within 45 days.

The Line Item Veto Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-130, 110 Stat. 1200) supplements the rescission authority. Instead of requiring the President to obtain the support of both houses within a specified time period, the Line Item Veto Act puts the burden on Congress to disapprove presidential proposals, acting under expedited procedures, within a 30-day period. Any bill or joint resolution of disapproval is subject to a presidential veto, ultimately requiring a two-thirds majority in each chamber for override. These procedures delegate important new powers to the President, affect the balance between the legislative and executive branches, and change the budget process.

Even the Supreme Court thought it was a bad idea back in 1996

Supreme Court Deletes Line-Item Veto
The line-item veto is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court decided Thursday, ruling that Congress did not have the authority to hand that power to the president.

The 6-3 ruling said that the Constitution gives a president only two choices: either sign legislation or send it back to Congress. The 1996 line-item veto law allowed the president to pencil out specific spending items approved by the Congress.

We have three branches of government for a reason and its so no one branch has absolute power. Voters should be concerned by this news from the Hill that the Bushies want Line-Item Veto authority. Oddly enough if was the Republicans who cried foul back in 96 when Clinton had the power for a little while, now I'm sure the GOP will be saying its ok now that the President is Republican.

Be afraid folks, be very afraid.

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