27 May 2010

The line-item veto, resurrected?

I'm still not sure whether to take Obama's 2008 campaign pledge that he wants to cut the deficit in half seriously. But he deserves a great deal of credit for trying this.

The Supreme Court declared the Line Item Veto Act -- a joint effort by Senate Republicans, led by John McCain, and the Clinton White House -- unconstitutional in 1998. Obama is now seeking "expanded rescission authority,"which wouild allow the president to propose a package of cuts to recently signed spending measures, and force Congress to make an up-or-down vote on those measures. If those cuts are approved by both chambers, they become law. This circumvents the inherent constitutional problem with the line-item veto -- that the president, under the old law, would have essentially been writing spending laws himself.

Yes, the stimulus was an enormous waste of money, and yes, Obama has been just as bad, if not worse, than Bush when it comes to fiscal discipline. Additionally, this proposal doesn't go far enough, as it leaves entitlement spending untouched. But this is an encouraging step in the right direction, and something that no one in the last (allegedly) conservative administration thought of.

This is something Republicans should -- no, have to -- get behind. There is no compelling reason whatsoever to vote against this.

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