Yahoo! News reported President Bush would receive greater power to try to kill "pork barrel" spending projects under a bill passed Thursday by the House. Lawmakers voted to give Bush and his successor a weaker version of the line-item veto law struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998,
I would much prefer a constitution ammendment giving the President the same power that most Governors have, but this is better than nothing.despite a recent series of lopsided votes in which they've rallied to preserve each other's back-home projects. The new power would expire after six years. The idea advances amid increasing public concern about lawmakers' penchant for stuffing parochial projects into spending bills that the president must accept or reject in their entirety. The House passed the bill by a 247-172 vote. Thirty-five Democrats joined with most Republicans in voting for the bill; 15 Republicans opposed the measure and others voted for the bill despite private reservations. The measure must still pass the Senate, and that's by no means a certainty. The bill would allow the president to single out items contained in appropriations bills he signs into law, and it would require Congress to vote on those items again. It also could be used against increases in benefit programs and tax breaks aimed at a single beneficiary. Under the proposal, it would take a simple majority in both the House and the Senate to approve the items over the president's objections. The hope is that wasteful spending or special interest tax breaks would be vulnerable since Congress might vote to reject such items once they are no longer protected by their inclusion in bigger bills that the president has little choice but to sign. "The line item veto is a critical tool that will help rein in wasteful spending and bring greater transparency to the budget process," Bush said in a statement after the vote. Supporters said lawmakers would think twice before slipping poorly conceived projects into spending bills. "The success of this bill will be less in the amount of pork that we line-item veto out and more in how much pork never gets put into the legislation in the first place," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Paul Ryan (news, bio, voting record), R-Wis. The bill is a far weaker version of the line-item veto that Republicans in Congress gave President Clinton in 1996. That bill allowed Clinton to strike items from appropriations and tax bills unless Congress mustered a two-thirds margin to override him.
We need a constitutional ammendment for that.The Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional two years later because it let the president change laws passed by Congress.
Captain Ed blogged It goes next to the Senate, where significant opposition exists. The idea of giving the executive branch the power to deny specific funding rankles those who already view this administration as a problem in terms of power-sharing. However, the Senate itself has shown almost no discipline in reforming its own appropriations processes, porking up one bill after another shamelessly. It took a conference committee to strip out $15.5 billion of pork added to an emergency spending measure intended to fund our deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as provide more assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims.
Supporters need to keep the pressure on their Senators to vote for the new line-item veto. We need to make clear that those who hold out for a broken and corrupt system of appropriations will not long be trusted to handle the taxpayers' money.
Pork Busters blogged Republicans, particularly on the House side, appear to be waking up in time and distancing themselves from the electoral implosion toward which their spendthriftedness and immigration policy tin-ear had had them drifting. Combined with the Democrats' latest self-immolations on the war, those GOP majorities are looking safer all the time.
Mark Noonan blogged A line item veto is a good thing, but I'm not sure this is the way to go about it - what seems to be happening here is an attempt at a soft line-item veto which will somehow skirt 'round the Supreme Court's rejection of same back in the Clinton Administration. I don't see how this will work - much better to just pass the real thing, and then add a provision excluding the operation of the line item from Federal judicial scruitiny (as provided for in the Constituiton which states that the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction as regulated by the Congress).