Third Party & Independents Archives

Line Item Talking Points

Today a measure was passed to give the president a ‘line item veto’. This of course confuses me, and it may you as well, considering that the Supreme Court struck down a similar measure when Clinton was in office. So why did they waste more of our money repeating the process again when they’ve been shown that it isn’t constitutional? Well, the answer comes into play every couple of years in the US.

Election fodder. Yes, that's the reason. The house republicans feel that their bill is different than the one struck down, it only allows the veto to be overridden by a simple majority of the house. A simple majority. I may be wrong here, but if the bill gets to his desk to begin with, didn't they ALREADY vote a simple majority for the measure?

You would think that type of logic would come into play, but it doesn't. The thought is that by having this line item veto the president could then just highlight the areas of the budget that are a problem to him and send that one back to be voted on again, hoping that the threat of having to vote for a single item in the budget would cause some to change their vote because they don't want to have to run as they guy who supported 'insert wedge issue at hand here'.

Don't get me wrong, I do think that people should have to stand on what they vote for. Especially when it comes to pork and waste. But there are two problems I have with the bill.

First of all, I still think it is unconstitutional for the same reasons that it was the last time. Why not try to amend the constitution to allow it if you want to achieve that? Simply bypassing the constitution to achieve your political goals is a failing of both parties. But the simple fact is that if you believe the ability should be provided do it the proper way.

Second of all, are we really working to give this power to the president, the one who has never had the guts to veto a single bill during his whole administration? Maybe try vetoing one of these budgets en masse first before calling for a line item veto as your only method of ending pork barrel spending. If Bush was really interested in doing that he could simply veto the bill, point out the single line that is causing his vetoing of it and make it clear that until that one aspect of the budget is changed or removed he will continue vetoing it and let the public decide who is right or wrong.

But no, not this president. He doesn't have the political will apparently. Which is surprising to me, considering he nearly destroyed his own presidency on fighting the war in Iraq (an action I supported) while tiptoeing and waltzing around each and every potential land mine that his administration may encounter domestically. Except the persecution of Americans based on flawed religious dogma.

Unfortunately, we can only conclude that the whole point of giving the president the power to use the line item veto is to provide political talking points for the next presidential or congressional election cycle. Not about stopping pork. Not about doing what is right by the American people. Not about ensuring that funds that are stolen at gunpoint from the American people is spent wisely.

No, it's just politics as usual in the beltway. We are just a means of obtaining and keeping power by the overlords of our every waking thought.

Posted by Rhinehold at June 22, 2006 9:21 PM
Comments
Comment #160739

Well said, Rhinehold.

I agree its an election tool. The Republicans will just target Democrat Earmarks for removal. Simple Majority, remember? Then the Repuglicans running in Democrat Districts will say, “Look!!! That guy can’t get anything for you!!! You can forget about your new water fountain!!! Vote me instead!!!”.

It can also be used to punish Democrats and Republicans who dare go against the GOP Leadership.

So much for Democracy.

Posted by: Aldous at June 22, 2006 9:42 PM
Comment #160756

Re-elction at any cost
This is the mantra I am finding distasteful.
But there is another way to view this move, an insurance policy of sorts. With the possibility of losing one or both houses still looming it would give the man who could not say no continued control after the investiture of a new congress. Then at a later date they could argue against it on constitutional grounds to a packed court.

Posted by: Ted at June 22, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #160777

Well, we can just hope this gets knocked down too, but then again, the court has changed significantly.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 22, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #160779

And how many sheep will baa at how great their false Gods are for this travesty?

Posted by: Dave at June 22, 2006 10:36 PM
Comment #160805

Dave:

As long as Fags can’t marry and Latinos can be targeted, the sheep are happy.

Posted by: Aldous at June 22, 2006 11:46 PM
Comment #160815

The line item veto can be a good thing or a bad thing. The good thing is that the President can and should veto any and all pork attached to a bill. The line item veto would come in handy for that. He could veto the pork without vetoing the whole bill.
The bad thing is the President could veto anything that the other party get put through and only keep his parties items in the bill.
However if we’re gonna have a line item veto I don’t think that a 2/3 majority to override it is out of hand. That’s what it takes to override any other veto.

Is this bill a political ploy? YOU CAN BET YOUR SWEET BIPPY ON IT.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 23, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #160818

How About the deficit. ” ”

Posted by: Rodney Brown at June 23, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #160832

Bush already has a line item veto. It’s called a signing statement, and he’s used it 754 times.

Posted by: Tim Crow at June 23, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #160861

Aldous,

It’s obvious you need help with Repuglispeak:
It’s not “fags” it’s “dem homosexuals”.
It’s not “Latinos”, it’s “the help” as in “the pool guy” or “the landscaper”, etc…

Ron,

The line item veto violates the constitutions division of legislative authority. The budget is a bill, the President says “yes” or “no”, that’s it. Unless you want ANOTHER amendment of convenience?

Tim,

The signing statement is another prime example of Bush’s hatred for the constitution and his elitist mentality for a unitary presidency.

Posted by: Dave at June 23, 2006 8:12 AM
Comment #160870

Rhinehold:

Seems to me that each party is in favor of line item vetos when they control the White House, but not in favor of it when they do not have control. That tells me that both are engaging in a power grab.

I like the idea of a line item veto, if it prevents the earmarks from being voted on in a bill. Often, so many things are added into bills that have nothing to do with the original. Do you see the line item veto helping with this problem?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at June 23, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #160872

LINE ITEM VETO is the key to VIRTUAL INFINITE POWER.

Please recognize this. The grain of truth in the bill is that the President CAN strike unworthy spending form an appropriations bill (spending bill). But, think about it. Would a Republican President dare strike more than a token of PORK spending for those in his own party which will help them get reelected? And by the same token, would a President have any other choice but to use the line item veto against the pork spending of his opponent’s party to demonstrate to the opponent’s constituents how ineffective they are?

Then one has to look at what will be defined as pork. Spending of he President’s party will be “Necessary”. Spending of the opposition party will be “Pork”.

And the problems resulting from this use of the veto would compound and increase to the point that whole states are deprived of federal contracts, FEMA services, education funding, military base spending and relocation to states dominated by the President’s party. C’mon, folks, you know how politics works. This policy would only divide our nation and bring us another step closer toward the inevitable need for another Revolution and overthrow of a corrupt government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2006 9:13 AM
Comment #160918

jbod,

The Republican congress gave President Clinton (D) the line item veto. It was overturned by SCOTUS as unconstitutional. As Tim pointed out, this President has decided he already has the “line item” veto. As Ron & Rheinehold pointed out, this is a pointless exercize and is therefore certainly only political.

Posted by: Dave at June 23, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #160936

Dave
I know the Supreme Court has ruled the line item veto unconstitutional. I was just pointing out the pros and cons of it. I don’t want to see one on the Federal level.
We have line item here in Georgia. The politics played with it is sickening. Some good and important legislation has been vetoed while the crap that’s been attached to it has been approved. All because of the party, or lack of party, of the person(s) introducing the bill.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 23, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #160998

Ron,

I agree with the sentiment. But, of course there’s a but :-), your argument is situational. You say “look, GA has a problem with the Gov. vetoing items” you happen to like. Many conservatives would have the exact opposite response if they could say “look at all the pork being cut”.
The reality is, the liberal position usually is, we must decide the law based on a high level of what provides the best solution with a balance of power: “Who has the legislative authority?” “Who has veto authority?” And work together to get to the solution. Don’t change the law just because you don’t like what people are doing with it unless the law provides an unfair advantage to negative influenecs.

Posted by: dave at June 23, 2006 3:05 PM
Comment #161001

Excellent post, Reinhold.

See, I can agree with you, Joe.

Reinhold, I am extra dull today, so what are you refering to as “Except the persecution of Americans based on flawed religious dogma.”?

Posted by: gergle at June 23, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #161008
so what are you refering to as “Except the persecution of Americans based on flawed religious dogma.”?

Well, from the attacks on women who choose abortions to denying basic rights to homosexuals because they feel that the bible somehow states that ‘god’ thinks homosexuality is wrong (which I have a huge disagreement with) to making it illegal in my state to purchase alcohol or sign contracts on Sunday, etc.

Using religious dogma, much of it horribly flawed, as a basis for any law is IMO unacceptable.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 23, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #161066

Weary Willie,

Two problems.

1) I don’t care how long it would take. In fact, the budget should really not be nearly as big as it is. If the budget is wrong, veto it and send it back to congress. By giving the president a line item veto you are going against the contitutional seperate of powers that was spelled out long ago. If we want to give the president that power (and I don’t think I do) then we need to amend the constitution first, not just ignore it.

2) When you talk about each state presenting what they want back from the federal government, that’s insane. Not becuase it’s limiting but why on earth are the states looking to the federal government for money comeing OUT of their states to mercifly be given back to them please? I mean, seriously, are we to that stage where we give so much money to the federal beauracracy that we have to go before the king and beg for a few paltry returns of our hard work doled back to us if we ask really nice and promise to be good boys and girls?

Bush has no balls. If he thought the budget was bad he would veto it. That he hasn’t once tells me that he is ok with the runaway spending of this congress INCLUDING all of the pork in it. And while he is the supporter of the action, the real violators of the American trust are the congressmen who spend months trying to figure out how to squeeze as much of the money into their state as possible, not what is best for the American Citizen.

We The People my ass.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 23, 2006 6:55 PM
Comment #161082

The issue here is cutting pork - which I firmly agree with. The line-item veto is not the right solution though.

I agree with Rhinehold, the way you do a “line item veto” constitutionally is you veto a bill and publicize what needs to be taken out for you to sign it. Yeah it takes some time and political will, but its the right way to do it.

A president with come cajones could do a lot of reform all by himself - all he would have to do is tell congress that he will veto any bill that is not limited to one issue (one issue one bill). Pork would be non-existent, and congress would have to work together on good legislation to get anything done.

A line-item veto would trick members of congress into voting for a carefully worked out package and then have individual pieces (that may have been be key in passing the bill) vetoed out of the bill by the President. The potential for abuse is enormous (especially in the winner take all style of politics that the two major parties play nowadays). Imagine a democratically controlled congress works with the minority party on a carefully crafted bill that passes by 55% and is sent to Bush and he vetoes all democratic supported programs - those programs get sent back to congress and there is no way in hell 2/3s are going to override the president - so the minority party in collusion with the president screwed over the majority party and it would be legal?

If the congress wants to change course and get fiscally reponsible, they should be passing a balanced budget constitutional amendement - that requires no deficit unless 75% of each house and the president agree that an extreme circumstance warrants a deficit (such as a natural disaster).

Another law that congress should pass is that no pay increase for federal employees happens when there is a deficit. If every government worker (including congress) suffered when congress runs a deficit it would be good motivation to pressure congress to be fiscally responsible.

Dismantling the checks and balances of the Constitution is not the way to increase government responsibility.

Posted by: redlenses at June 23, 2006 7:37 PM
Comment #161086

redlenses, well said. Couldn’t agree more.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 23, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #161185

dave
I’m not trying to change the law. Though it might need to be. I was giving an example of abuse of the line veto. Sometimes it’s used responsibly. Like to veto pork.
I don’t know where you get the idea that a Democrat wouldn’t abuse the line item veto. They’re just as corrupt as the Republicans are.

Posted by: Ron Brown at June 24, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #161202

Ron Brown, you are absolutely right. The Democrats would. That is why the line item veto is the worst possible abrogation of the checks and balances in the Constitution I have witnessed since the installation of Presidential Signing Statements, many, many years ago.

I know your comment was to dave, but, I felt compelled to chime in.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 24, 2006 1:48 AM
Comment #161274

You want a candidate to assure us of somthing while they are running for office?

And you will believe them?

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 24, 2006 2:26 PM
Comment #161286

Line item veto is a great idea. The power to veto anything that makes you uncomfortable or goes against your grain.

We have some experience with a system like this already, we call it a monarchy.

Posted by: jblym at June 24, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #161473

Ron; I posted:

I agree with the sentiment. But, of course there’s a but :-), your argument is situational. You say “look, GA has a problem with the Gov. vetoing items” you happen to like. Many conservatives would have the exact opposite response if they could say “look at all the pork being cut”.
The reality is, the liberal position usually is, we must decide the law based on a high level of what provides the best solution with a balance of power: “Who has the legislative authority?” “Who has veto authority?” And work together to get to the solution. Don’t change the law just because you don’t like what people are doing with it unless the law provides an unfair advantage to negative influenecs.
I’m truely curious, where do you see?:
I don’t know where you get the idea that a Democrat wouldn’t abuse the line item veto. They’re just as corrupt as the Republicans are.
As David replied, “balance of power” is the key and was my point.

Posted by: Dave at June 24, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #161639

Weary Willie,

Keep it the same? Have you been reading what I write at all? I want what we have now dismantled because no one is willing to take risks at all anymore. I want the government to stop stealing money from it’s citizens. I want this BECAUSE I don’t trust the government to ‘do what is right’.

We are lied to by our rulers on a day to day basis, let’s try taking care of ourselves for a while instead of believing in them because, frankly, it ain’t workin’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 25, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #162551

I’m trying, hence HR 25

Or we could just stop doing it, stop voting for it, stop expecting other people’s money be given to us.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 27, 2006 11:00 PM
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