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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4890, Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CHABOT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4890, the Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006.

On April 27, the Subcommittee on the Constitution, which I chair, held a hearing on the issue and concluded that the bill Mr. Ryan has introduced will not only reduce frivolous spending, but will pass constitutional muster.

The notion of a line item veto has intrigued those concerned with wasteful Federal spending for a long time. Presidents at least since Thomas Jefferson have asserted that the Executive has some discretion in the expenditure of monies appropriated by Congress. Forty-three Governors have some form of a line item veto to reduce spending, yet until 1996 no such mechanism existed at the Federal level. And that year, Congress enacted the Line Item Veto Act that was part of the Contract with America, and it had overwhelming bipartisan support.

However, the United States Supreme Court ultimately held that the Line Item Veto Act was unconstitutional because it gave the President the power to rescind a portion of the bill as opposed to an entire bill as he is authorized to do by article I, section 7 of the Constitution.

Despite the Supreme Court's actions, the notion of a line item veto has remained very popular. During its brief life, President Clinton used the line item veto to cut 82 projects totaling over $2 billion. Most recently, line item veto proposals have been warmly received by such disparate editorial boards as The Washington Post on one hand and the Wall Street Journal on the other.

In addition, Mr. Ryan's legislation addresses the constitutional concerns that were raised by the 1996 line item veto bill, and gives the President only the authority to recommend to Congress that it rescind money, and it provides for an expedited procedure for doing so.

I would urge my colleagues not only to vote for this rule but also to support the underlying legislation. It is time that we get Federal spending under control, and this is a part of allowing us to do that.


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