In a rare bipartisan effort, the U.S. House of Representatives voted earlier this month to approve a line-item veto for the president. We hope the Senate also gives its approval and the president signs it.
The objections to the bill, which passed 254-173, are predicated on process issues.
Rep. Steny Hoyer said he felt the bill "diminished the authority of the Congress." But that's kind of the point, according to the bill's co-author, Rep. Paul Ryan.
According to Ryan, "Washington spends too much money on programs that can't be justified."
Past presidents of both parties have sought a presidential line-item veto over appropriations bills. Congress has been reluctant to give any president such power, fearing he would veto special-interest legislation drafted by certain powerful lawmakers or put curbs on pork-barrel projects.
Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont and a co-sponsor of the bill, said, "As congressional gridlock prevents a comprehensive approach to reducing the federal debt, this bipartisan bill is a no-brainer."
Fears that a president could use the veto power to punish members of Congress could be allayed by the provision in this bill that reserves Congress' right to overturn the president's recommendation. Frankly, that's a good move, since then lawmakers would have to justify their items being considered.
This is a great tool for any president to have and its added feature of transparency is icing on the cake. President Barack Obama has indicted he would sign it. It just needs to pass muster with the Senate, where there is great danger it could be stalled along with some House-passed jobs bills.