The Line Item Veto Essay Research Paper

The Line Item Veto Essay, Research Paper

The Line Item Veto

President Clinton signed into law the Line item veto act

of 1996, on April 9,1996. The Impoundment Control Act were

amended by adding at the end a new part on line item veto. The

section added to the ICA is named the Public Laws 104-130. The

Line Item Veto was added to the powers of the president on

January 1, 1997. The power of the Line Item veto will then be

Terminated on the sunset of December 31, 2004.

Previously the constitution allowed the president only

to either agree and accept a whole bill or reject or veto the

whole thing. Now, the Line Item Veto gives the president

conditional powers to cancel , or line items of certain parts

of the bill which he disagrees with. The President however,

cannot just cross out any part of a bill he doesn?t like with;

he can only cancel something under certain circumstances.

He has to provide congress with reason for the cancellation

and he also has to consider previous legislative histories and

information referenced in law. These cancellations are then

considered by congress and the senate budget committees. If

they do not give back a disapproval bill to the president, it

means that they have agreed with the cancellations of

certain parts of the bill. If they do give a disapproval bill back

to the president the cancellations are now void.

The line-item veto law’s intention is to reduce the deficit

and surpluses. Congress and the president claim that by using

the Line Item Veto method that the federal government will

save $569 million over 5 years.

The line item veto has been argued and debated upon in

many cases. One argument started the day after the Line item

Veto act went into effect. This case was Raines vs. Byrd, it

dealt with the constitutionality of the line item veto. The case

was dismissed because the court felt that they did not have a

proper ?standing? .

Another case in which the Line Item Veto was argued

upon was when NY sued . The Line Item veto had caused

NY to lose a provision that would reduced the state of New

York’s spending on the Medicaid health care program for the


Congress feels that the Line Item Veto will help out the

deficit the government is having right now, and do not think

that it is a shift of power like others think. The congressional

budget office has projected an $8 billion surplus for fiscal


Another incidence in which the president has again used

his power of the line item veto was on military construction.

The bill spends money on the improving National Guard and

Reserve Centers, barrack construction and more. However,

the money spent on all of this construction is considered to be

a very large amount of money and as Rahm Emmanuel, senior

administration official, said, ? a blow to the status quo in this

country?. Also, after the houses debated this issue using the

line item veto procedure, 129 projects that the pentagon did

not want, was added on the list of projects.

I personally do not agree with the Line Item veto for

many reasons. One of them is that it gives too much power to

the President. At first glance, it seems as if when the

president gives in a list of lined items to the congress that he

does not agree with, that it goes through a vigorous process

before they are actually considered to be canceled. This is

untrue. While congress may write a disapproval bill to the

president attempting to nullify the presidents actions, the

president can still very easily get his way. All he has to do is

get support from either 1/3 of the house of rep.?s or the

senate to veto the disapproval bill. There is a very big chance

that the president can rally up 33% of one or the other house

and as you see he will get whatever he wants.

Another reason why I do not agree with the Line Item

Veto is because is because in the case that a forceful

president like, Richard Nixon came along with the power of

the Line Item Veto the power may be misused. For example; the

president could use the veto as blackmail to force someone to

support a presidential position.

Something else which also confuses me about the

constitutionality and whole position on the Line item veto is

why it was not made an amendment. I would expect something

that big, and the great shift of power to make a change in the

constitution, however it didn?t; it was considered a change in

the statute.

The ?lock-box? which is kept to insure that any savings

from cancellations go toward deficit reduction can also be

harmful. Although this is said to keep the money secure, once

billions start piling up in their, congress and the President

would find some urge to go spend in on something. This

wouldn?t be too harmful if what they were spending the money

on was a good cause, but this defeats the whole purpose of

the ?Lock-Box?.

The military construction incidence, the ?lock-box?

evidence and the excessive amount of power given to the

president are just a few reasons I disagree with the Line Item

Veto. I hope you have seen how this new method is really doing

no help to our budget and is giving more power to our

president and the ones to come. The whole reason why we are

now not under the control of Britain is because Britain was

governing us under a gov?t which gave too much rule to one

person or group of people, and to have the Line Item Veto

method in our country is contradicting everything we stand



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