Bipartisan Push for Pork-Busting Line-Item Veto

Ryan, Van Hollen push for bill to give president authority to knock pork out of spending bills.

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While the GOP blasts President Obama for too often going around Congress, at least one key GOP lawmaker is pushing for the president to have more power.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has joined Democratic Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen on a bill which would give the White House a line-item veto to knock out spending deemed wasteful or unnecessary. The bill, announced in November, is set for a second mark-up by the House Rules Committee next week. If it is approved by the committee, could be set for a House vote soon. It faces an uncertain future in the Senate, however, where North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad has opposed similar measures in the past. [See pictures of the 2012 GOP candidates.]

The bill would allow the president to strike two items from an appropriations bill. Congress would then have a chance to either approve or reject the president's action in an up-or-down vote. Any savings would immediately go toward deficit reduction.

 "Taxpayers deserve a system that is accountable, and this bipartisan legislation will provide another tool to ensure that we are good stewards of their money," Van Hollen said in a release from his office.

 Line-item vetoes have long been promoted by small-government advocates, who claim that it would create a disincentive for lawmakers to seek earmarks for their districts. In the late Nineties, Congress struck down a broader line-item veto law, claiming it violated the constitutional separation of powers. This bill, its backers claim, is more narrowly defined. 

 aparker@usnews.com

Twitter: @AlexParkerDC