Thursday, November 11

Why would the Mandate monkey need a line Item Veto

So bush, leader of a party that controls the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th estates, feels the need to exercise even more control over the legislative process. Meanwhile I seem to remember that Clinton wanted one so now I must find out. OK, here is the story. Congress passed a bill giving Clinton the line item Veto in '96, Clinto used it sparingly througout '97, and the SCOTUS ruled it unconstitutional in '98. From the WAPO.
By Helen Dewar and Joan Biskupic
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 26, 1998; Page A01

The Supreme Court yesterday struck down the broad new line-item veto authority that Congress had given the president to cancel specific items in spending and tax bills.

Within a couple of hours of the ruling, the law's backers announced they will try again to find a constitutional way to expand the president's powers to cut pork-barrel expenditures.

In a 6 to 3 decision, the court held that the line-item veto law violates a constitutional requirement that legislation be passed by both houses of Congress and presented in its entirety to the president for signature or veto.
But the judicial branch, looking to constitutional rather than political or fiscal priorities, took a far dimmer view of the power swap.

Unlike earlier laws giving the president discretionary spending authority, "this act gives the president the unilateral power to change the text of duly enacted statutes," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.
Let's see how bush plans to get around this opinion, before he stacks the courts, that is.
Six years after the Supreme Court took away the president's ability to veto specific parts of legislation, President Bush is asking Congress to bring back the line-item veto to let him make precision strikes against projects and tax provisions he doesn't like.

At a news conference after his re-election, Bush said he wanted a line-item veto that "passed constitutional muster," explaining it would help him work with lawmakers "to make sure that we're able to maintain budget discipline."
Budget discipline, in the bush administration? That does not pass the smell, laugh, or "global" tests.
White House Budget Director Josh Bolten told the Senate Budget Committee this year that the administration hopes to work with Congress to draft legislation that would stand up to constitutional scrutiny.

"We hope the president has the political courage to follow through on this," said David Williams, spokesman for Citizens Against Government Waste, a leading advocate of the line-item veto as a means to rein in government spending. "This could be one of his legacies."
Grover Norquist must be wetting himself at the thought. I can envision the "lines" that would be subject to veto. Social services, strike, NCLB, strike, any program that might help the little guy, strike. Grovers wet dream, the LIV in the hands of a man who would be the despot dauphin.