Rahall Votes Against Line Item Veto

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Wednesday voted against the President’s request for a line-item veto authority, arguing that it would give the President too much power in making decisions about federal programs important to West Virginians. “Senator Byrd is looking down on the Capitol today, shaking his head at this unconstitutional power grab by the presidency.  It empowers the President to unilaterally rewrite spending bills approved by the Congress – giving the President an enormous amount of authority in deciding which federal investments may go forward in West Virginia,” said Rahall.  “I cannot understand this mentality, especially amongst Members who have been so vocal in opposing the President’s budget agenda, to shift even more control to the President in making spending decisions.”

The measure considered by the House, the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act, would empower the President to withhold funding from spending bills approved by the Congress, and force the Congress to reconsider whatever spending package the President returns for additional debate.

Rahall has been a consistent critic of giving the President a line-item veto authority.  He opposed the Line-Item Veto Act of 1996, giving President Clinton a line-item veto.  The U.S. Supreme Court later invalidated the measure, citing the bill’s impermissible grant of authority to the President that would disrupt the Constitutional system of checks and balances. 

“A president running for reelection could abuse this authority to create political mayhem in an election year, or even to try to cajole Members of Congress into supporting the President’s agenda by threatening to delay or veto funds for programs important to a Member’s state.  We must make some painful spending decisions in order to get the budget back on a balanced path, but that does not justify giving this President – or any President, Democrat or Republican – such sweeping power.  The Supreme Court invalidated the last line-item veto bill 15 years ago.  This measure deserves a similar fate,” said Rahall.

          The bill passed the House by a vote of 238 to 175 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.