Line-Item Veto

June 20, 1997 • Volume 7, Issue 23
Can it control wasteful federal spending?
By Kenneth Jost

Introduction

President Clinton signs the Line Item Veto Actin the Oval Office on April 9, 1996, as Rep. John M. Spratt Jr.,D-S.C., and Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., look on.  (Photo Credit: Reuters)
President Clinton signs the Line Item Veto Actin the Oval Office on April 9, 1996, as Rep. John M. Spratt Jr.,D-S.C., and Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., look on.  (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Nearly a dozen presidents have sought the power to eliminate individual spending items from money bills approved by lawmakers. Now, the Republican-controlled Congress has given a modified line-item veto to a Democratic president, Bill Clinton. Signed last year, the new law authorizes the president to“cancel” any spending item after signing a bill into law. Clinton and congressional supporters in both parties say the procedure will help control wasteful spending, especially the kind of “pork-barrel”expenditures that individual members of Congress like to bestow on their districts. Opponents say the law will have little fiscal impact,and that it infringes on Congress' constitutional power over federal spending. A legal challenge is before the Supreme Court, which should rule on the case soon.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Executive Powers and the Presidency
Feb. 24, 2006  Presidential Power
Nov. 15, 2002  Presidential Power
Feb. 02, 2001  The Bush Presidency
Jun. 20, 1997  Line-Item Veto
Jun. 14, 1996  First Ladies
Oct. 21, 1988  Dangers in Presidential Transitions
Jun. 10, 1988  The Quandary of Being Vice President
Jan. 06, 1984  Presidential Advisory Commissions
Jul. 28, 1978  Presidential Popularity
Feb. 13, 1976  Evaluating Presidential Performance
Dec. 12, 1975  Presidential Protection
Jul. 11, 1973  Presidential Reorganization
Mar. 07, 1973  Presidential Accountability
Sep. 24, 1971  Presidential Diplomacy
Nov. 11, 1970  Vice Presidency
Oct. 02, 1968  Presidential Power
Mar. 14, 1966  War Powers of the President
Nov. 23, 1960  Transfer of Executive Power
Apr. 04, 1956  Vice Presidency
Oct. 15, 1952  Change of Presidents
Jun. 09, 1950  President and Mid-Term Elections
Oct. 20, 1948  Federal Patronage
Mar. 24, 1948  The South and the Presidency
Dec. 05, 1947  Military Leaders and the Presidency
Apr. 16, 1947  Veto Power of the President
Sep. 20, 1945  Succession to the Presidency
Sep. 12, 1940  The War Powers of the President
Feb. 11, 1938  Emergency Powers of the President
Jan. 06, 1938  The Power to Declare War
Dec. 28, 1937  Extension of the Veto Power
Dec. 28, 1936  Limitation of the President's Tenure
Mar. 12, 1935  The President and the Congress
Dec. 16, 1932  The Veto Power of the President
May 28, 1931  Presidential Commissions
Oct. 23, 1928  Presidential Appointments and the Senate
Mar. 21, 1928  Business Conditions in Presidential Years
Jan. 20, 1927  The Monroe Doctrine
Mar. 18, 1925  The President's Power of Appointment
Sep. 10, 1923  The President's Position on Patronage
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Deficit, Federal Debt, and Balanced Budget
Powers and History of the Presidency