|Line Item Veto Debate|
Reps. Solomon and Skaggs
June 20, 1997
in this forum:
Should the Court even rule on this case? What is the experience in the states with L.I.V.s? Why do we need a line item veto now? Would the LIV have helped pass the disaster relief bill? Wasn't it Congress' decision to give the President this veto? Isn't this an example of Congress not taking responsibility for its own duties?
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A question from Martha Phelps of Queensbury, NY:
Could the line item veto have been used to pass the flood relief bill? If so, I have two questions. I am sure Mr. Skaggs opposed the Republican amendments to the bill. Why would he not support giving the President the right to strike those provisions? And I believe I read that Mr. Solomon voted for the bill with the amendments. If he wants to give the President the authority to strike extraneous provisions, why would he support efforts to include them in this bill?
Rep. Skaggs responds:
President Clinton vetoed the first Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations bill that the Congress sent him because it contained unrelated legislative provisions dealing with government shutdowns and with the use of sampling to conduct the 2000 census. It's unclear but unlikely that these legislative provisions could have been line-item-vetoed had the Line Item Veto Act been in effect; the law attempts to allow cancellation of tax and spending items, but not legislative provisions.
Even though I opposed these two "riders" in the Disaster Relief Supplemental, it doesn't follow that I want the President to have unilateral law-changing power to get rid of them.
Rep. Solomon responds:
The line item veto could not be used against the flood relief bill because a Federal District Court placed a stay on the ability of the President to use this authority. If it had been available to use, the President may have been able to use the line item veto to strike certain items in the bill if he could justify that doing so would reduce the federal deficit and not harm the national interest.