US senators introduce line-item veto bill

[JURIST] A bipartisan group of US senators on Wednesday introduced the Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act [S 3474 text], which would give presidents the authority to use a modified version of the line-item veto in order to cut spending. In a process known as expedited rescission, the president could single out non-entitlement spending items and earmarks in legislation and return the items to Congress for a new vote on funding the provisions. President Barack Obama [official website] supports the bill, having submitted a similar proposal [text, PDF; JURIST report] for Congress' consideration last month. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) [official website], a co-sponsor of the legislation, stressed the importance of the bill [press release] saying:

With our line-item veto proposal, any president would now have an effective way to prevent taxpayer dollars being wasted on special interest projects. Not only would the line-item veto help go after billions of dollars worth of unnecessary spending secretly tucked into larger bills, it would also shine a light on the earmark process and deter lawmakers from doing earmarks in the first place.
Co-sponsor Senator John McCain (R-AZ) [official website] also praised the legislation saying it would "enable much needed fiscal restraint." Critics of the bill contend that it gives presidents too much power [NYT report]. The bill has been referred to the Senate Budget Committee [official website] for further consideration.

Congress originally granted presidents line-item veto power with the Line-Item Veto Act of 1996 [text PDF]. The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive], however, ruled in 1998 that the act was unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York [opinion text]. The Bush Administration submitted line-item veto legislation [text; JURIST report] to Congress in 2006 for further consideration. The legislation was advanced by the House committee and eventually passed by the full House of Representatives, but failed to gain Senate approval [JURIST reports].

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.