The Buck Stops Where?
The Question of a Constitutional Amendment to Add a Presidential Line-Item Veto
The issue of a presidential item veto has been debated for over a century. In fact, since Washington’s first term, the president’s right to single out individual items from a pending bill has been unclear. This lack of clarity has led to many debates on the issue, with item veto power being granted once on a statutory basis in 1996, but only for a short period. Arguments both for and against adding an item veto as an amendment to the Constitution are legitimate. Supporters claim that it would allow the president to cut out unnecessary pork, shrink the national deficit, and balance the budget by vetoing wasteful projects that may be attached to legitimate bills. They point to the fact that 43 of the 50 states include a line-item veto in their governor’s powers, and none of those states have repealed it from their state constitutions. While opponents suggest that it would damage the president’s relationship with Congress, actually increase federal spending, and increase presidential power beyond that of the founders’ intent. They also say that because the line item veto applies to only a limited amount of legislation, its effectiveness would not justify the change. After researching the issue, I believe that a Constitutional amendment would be helpful in not adding to, but securing the president’s power as Budgeter in Chief which has been encroached upon since the Budget Act of 1974. There is enough evidence to support the theory that the item veto does not conflict with the original intentions of the founders and would benefit American citizens.
Many presidents have requested an item veto as a way to cut out earmarks without being forced to veto an entire bill. According to Judith A. Best, presidents are sometimes forced to “throw out the baby in order to get rid of the bath water” or sign a bill that comes attached with expensive wasteful...