By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Great news for fiscal conservatives today: the New York Times is reporting that the president plans to ask Congress this month to establish a modified version of the line-item veto, allowing him to delete individual items from spending bills. According to sources, the White House is planning on sending proposed legislation to Congress before the Memorial Day recess “to give the president a new tool to reduce unnecessary or wasteful spending.” You may remember that the Supreme Court declared the line item veto unconstitutional in 1998, and so this would have to pass legal muster, but here are the specifics as reported by the Times:
A president would have 45 working days after signing a spending bill into law to submit to Congress items to rescind, the administration official said, and Congress would have 25 days to act. The House and Senate would have to vote the package up or down, without amendments.
According to the Congressional Research Service, President Bush never put forth any rescissions in spending. Republicans in Congress have called on President Obama to rescind some of the spending on the stimulus package, but he hasn’t done so yet.
Republicans would be crazy not to support this proposed legislation--fiscally responsible, bipartisan, and it still gives Congress a voice in the process. The GOP has supported a line-item veto for years--it was part of the balanced-budget legislation in the original Contract with America in 1994, and Sen. John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan recently introduced their own line-item veto legislation.
The line item veto is long overdue, popular with independents and makes sense in the face of massive deficits. Republicans should jump on it.