Should Obama Have Line-Item Veto Authority?

Obama wants the power to eliminate discrete spending items.


Federal spending has become a top political issue. President Obama has asked Congress for line-item veto power, which would let him eliminate discrete spending items. Advocates say it would help tame the deficit, but critics warn it would give the president too much power.
Edited by Robert Schlesinger


Ryan Alexander
President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, which works to end wasteful spending

Each year, Congress passes reams of spending bills that are thousands of pages long. These bills fulfill their constitutional obligation to fund government, but are also littered with thousands of individual lawmakers’ spending requests. Very few, if any, members of Congress are familiar with all of the spending provisions contained in these bills. And not surprisingly, some provisions, like the infamous...


Norman Ornstein
Congressional expert and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

A line-item veto would have a noble purpose: enabling a president willing to take the political heat to excise wasteful spending put into the budget by pork-addled lawmakers who can’t resist bridges to nowhere. It sounds great—but is less fulfilling than it appears, and would bring a major cost to our constitutional balance. First, a line-item veto would affect only a trace element of our $3 trillion-plus federal budget, a drop in the...


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