Line-item veto

Line-item veto

In government, the line-item veto is the power of an executive to nullify or "cancel" specific provisions of a bill, usually budget appropriations, without vetoing the entire legislative package. The line-item vetoes are usually subject to the possibility of legislative override as are traditional vetoes.

Use in the United States


This power is held by most state governors in the United States of America. All but seven US states have some form of line-item veto. Those states without the line-item veto are Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Confederate States

While this power is not supported by the United States Constitution, it was granted to the President of the Confederate States as the American Civil War broke out in 1861. Article 1, Section 7 of the Confederate States Constitution, adopted March 11, 1861, allowed the Confederate president the ability to "approve any appropriation and disapprove any other appropriation in the same bill," with such disapprovals returned to the houses of congress for reconsideration and potentially for override.

Line Item Veto Act of 1996

Presidents have repeatedly asked Congress to give them a line item veto power. According to Louis Fisher in The Politics of Shared Power, Ronald Reagan said to Congress in his 1986 State of the Union address, "Tonight I ask you to give me what forty-three governors have: Give me a line-item veto this year. Give me the authority to veto waste, and I'll take the responsibility, I'll make the cuts, I'll take the heat." Bill Clinton echoed the request in his State of the Union address in 1995.

The President was briefly granted this power by the Line Item Veto Act of 1996, passed by Congress in order to control "pork barrel spending" that favors a particular region rather than the nation as a whole. The line-item veto was used 11 times to strike 82 items from the federal budget by President Bill Clinton.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan ruled on February 12, 1998, that unilateral amendment or repeal of only parts of statutes violated the U.S. Constitution. This ruling was subsequently affirmed on June 25, 1998, by a 6-3 decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case Clinton v. City of New York. The case was brought by the then New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

A constitutional amendment to give the President line item veto power has been considered periodically since the Court ruled the 1996 act unconstitutional. Some scholars, including Louis Fisher, believe the line item veto would give presidents too much power over government spending compared with the power of Congress.

See also


External links

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