November 9, 2004


Buoyant Bush sets out list of goals (Ann McFeatters, November 05, 2004, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Asked about the growing budget deficit, he said he would like to revive the so-called line-item veto.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2004 10:52 AM

Would Congress ever give the President the line item veto? wasn't it the GOP Congress that wouldn't give it to Clinton?

Posted by: AWW at November 9, 2004 10:57 AM

they gave it to him but it was ruled unconstitutional.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2004 11:01 AM

So Bush needs to change the court before he can use the line-item veto?

Posted by: AWW at November 9, 2004 11:40 AM


Just ignore them. It's not a question for the courts.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2004 11:49 AM

The person who should exercise the power of line-item veto is the Senate majority leader. The separation of powers will not grant it to the Executive.

Posted by: JimGooding at November 9, 2004 12:56 PM

If Congress wants a line-item veto, it can happen easily. There are a number of ways to do this. The simplest is to have each House pass a rule that a bill must be voted on twice in its final form to become law, that after it is passed the first time it should be sent to the President to exercise his line-item veto, that any provision stricken by the President can only be re-inserted by a 2/3's vote and that if the President doesn't exercise his line-item veto at all, the second vote is unnecessary.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 9, 2004 1:06 PM

DCohen: you still have the problem of constitutionality; maybe the VP, as prez of the Senate, could issue line-item advisories that then could only be overridden by 2/3; plus, it would get him off funeral duty.

Posted by: JimGooding at November 9, 2004 1:45 PM

I'm willing to be persuaded, Jim, but I think my scheme is constitutional.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 9, 2004 2:31 PM

I think it's pretty clear that Robert Byrd would sue to strike down any scheme to give the President the line-item veto and that with its current makeup, the Court would strike it down. Mere subterfuge will not work.

If Stevens and O'Connor should retire, that situation changes.

Posted by: Bart at November 9, 2004 7:31 PM

I believe the best solution I heard was the so called "exploding" bill. The Congress would vote on an overall package, with it going to the President as a gazillion separate items to be signed into law. He would then be free to veto individual ones. Biggest problem would be writer's cramp from signing them all.

Posted by: The Other Brother at November 9, 2004 8:07 PM

The Congress will never willingly allow any President to have that kind of power over the budget. Their ability to lard up any appropriation or tax bill with all sorts of crap for constituents or contributors is central to their career path.

Posted by: Bart at November 9, 2004 8:28 PM

David Cohen,

How about this - congress includes a provision in each piece of spending legislation declaring that the bill is severable. The Court has found that such provisions allow the Judiciary to exercise a line-item veto (so to speak) through Judicial Review without striking down the whole law. Why not spending severability allowing the president to strike individual provisions of the law without vetoing the entire enterprise.

Posted by: "Edward" at November 9, 2004 10:29 PM

Of course, Congress would have to include the provision in each bill, but how could they refuse if the president made it a practice to veto every law that didn't include it.

Posted by: "Edward" at November 9, 2004 10:31 PM