The Line Item Veto Act After One Year.
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (U S CONGRESS) WASHINGTON DC
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The Line Item Veto Act, which took effect on January 1, 1997 and expires eight years later, marks a significant milestone in the federal budget process. It enables the President, for the first time, to cancel individual spending or tax-benefit provisions in legislation passed by the Congress without having to veto the entire legislation. Because the President must first sign the legislation before canceling provisions, his cancellation authority does not represent a true item veto, despite its name. The Presidents cancellations take effect immediately and can be reversed only by a subsequent law. After a year, opinion about the act remains sharply divided. Proponents view the Presidents cancellation authority as a significant tool for eliminating wasteful spending or tax provisions and maintaining fiscal discipline. Opponents see it as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the executive branch. In February 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declared the act unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the Constitutions separation of powers doctrine. The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on the case for late April and is expected to make a mling sometime this year.
- Government and Political Science