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June 22, 2006
Line-Item Veto Passes House

The House just passed the new limited line-item veto moments ago, 247-172, with 35 Democrats voting to support the Republican initiative on reform. Andrew Taylor at the AP notes the irony in this vote:

Lawmakers voted to give Bush and his successor a new, weaker version of the line-item veto law struck down by the Supreme Court in 1998, despite a recent series of lopsided votes in which they've rallied to preserve each other's back-home projects. It would expire after six years.

The idea advances amid increasing public concern about lawmakers' penchant for stuffing parochial projects into spending bills that the president must accept or reject in their entirety. ...

The bill would allow the president to single out items contained in appropriations bills he signs into law, and it would require Congress to vote on those items again. It also could be used against increases in benefit programs and tax breaks aimed at a single beneficiary.

Under the proposal, it would take a simple majority in both the House and the Senate to approve the items over the president's objections.

The hope is that wasteful spending or special interest tax breaks would be vulnerable since Congress might vote to reject such items once they are no longer protected by their inclusion in bigger bills that the president has little choice but to sign.

The roll call vote can be found here. Voters concerned about earmarks and corruption should note those who opposed this measure. The following Republicans decided to back away from the line-item veto:

Buyer (there's a name for you!)
Jones (NC)
Lewis (CA)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)

The inclusion of Jerry Lewis, the head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, comes as no surprise. After all, Lewis sent $11 million in earmarks to Trident Systems, whose president paid Lewis' stepdaughter almost a third of all the money raised by his PAC, for which she was employed. Lewis doesn't want to lose his political heft and ability to direct federal funds to the beneficiaries of his family -- which gives us more reason to cheer this vote.

It goes next to the Senate, where significant opposition exists. The idea of giving the executive branch the power to deny specific funding rankles those who already view this administration as a problem in terms of power-sharing. However, the Senate itself has shown almost no discipline in reforming its own appropriations processes, porking up one bill after another shamelessly. It took a conference committee to strip out $15.5 billion of pork added to an emergency spending measure intended to fund our deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as provide more assistance to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Supporters need to keep the pressure on their Senators to vote for the new line-item veto. We need to make clear that those who hold out for a broken and corrupt system of appropriations will not long be trusted to handle the taxpayers' money.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 22, 2006 5:48 PM

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» House of Representatives Watch: House Approves Line-Item Veto? from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
Bush’s drive for line-item veto power to control deficit-spending is facing resistance in the U.S. House of Representatives where the outcome of a vote scheduled for Thursday is in doubt, Portman said on Tuesday. AP: House approves watered-down ... [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2006 7:25 PM

» Other Stuff from Hard Starboard
The line item veto is also a pleasant memory, if only in concept since it was wasted on Bill Clinton. But that provision has been revived, albeit in weaker form: Lawmakers voted to give Bush and his successor a new, weaker version of the line-item... [Read More]

Tracked on June 23, 2006 6:55 PM

» House approves watered-down line-item veto from Don Singleton
I would much prefer a constitution ammendment giving the President the same power that most Governors have, but this is better than nothing. [Read More]

Tracked on June 24, 2006 9:20 AM


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