AllPolitics E-Wire -- August 11, 1997
A weekly briefing on U.S. politics:
A Historic Veto
Every president has wanted it, but only Bill Clinton has had the power of the line-item veto. With a historic stroke of the pen, the president excercised that newly vested authority, striking three items from the balanced-budget spending and tax laws. Major long-term ramifications to Clinton's actions are expected as a constitutional court challenge is inevitable. And, in the short term, Clinton appears to have thrown a damper on the budget bipartisanship, as members on both sides of the aisles of Congress complained they were "blindsided" by the move and that the president's veto was motivated by "politics." But invoking the line-item veto's symbolic value and laying down the gauntlet to both the court and congress proved too tempting for the administration to pass up.
The ill-fated measures included a Medicaid provision affecting reimbursements to the state of New York the administration deemed "unfair," a special tax break for the sale of a sugar beet processing plant, and a tax provision that would have benefited some banks and financial institutions by lowering taxes if they move money around overseas. The White House said all three met their veto-criteria of affecting few people, being bad public policy and no being a part of the agreement the administration worked out with congressional leaders.
Labor Steps In
Labor Secretary Alexis Herman plans will hold separate meetings Monday with with the union and the United Parcel Service in an attempt to settle the strike. Speaking to CNN Sunday night, Herman warned each not to take actions that will widen the rift between the union and the company. She urged UPS not to start hiring replacement workers. President Clinton still does not plan to intervene in the week-old strike.
Dog Days Of August
Political business in Washington will grind to a near-halt come the end of the week as the Clintons join the summer exodus for a three-week long vacation starting next weekend. The president, and his substantial entourage, will overrun the Massachusetts vacation retreat of Martha's Vineyard Island next Sunday. Members of Congress are already back home for their August recess.
Family Feud of the Week
"Two members of my family chased an idealised alternative to their life. One [Rep. Joe Kennedy] left behind an embittered wife, and another [Michael Kennedy], in what looked to be a hedge against mortality, fell in love with youth and surrendered his judgment in the process. Both became poster boys for bad behaviour. Perhaps they deserved it. Perhaps they should have known better. To whom much is given, much is expected, right?" -- John F. Kennedy Jr., breaking the traditional Kennedy code of silence by revealing the naked truths about family affairs in his George Magazine's editor's column.
"I guess my first reaction was 'Ask not what you can do for your cousin but what you can do for his magazine." -- Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), responding to his cousin's editorial while invoking a reference to former President Kennedy's Inaugural speech.
Interesting Press Conferences?
A sampling of David Letterman's Top Ten suggestions for making presidential press conference more interesting, as broadcasted on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" on Aug. 8, 1997:10. Lively game of keep away with Sam Donaldson's toupee.
8. Reporters must refer to the president as "Puff Daddy."
6. Clinton looks at Gore and yells, "Would you blink already you spooky bastard."
5. Every time President dodges a question, he has to do a shot.
4. The Washington press corps plus a swarm of angry wasps equals 15 minutes of hilarious political entertainment.
2. Get rid of Tubby and bring in Harrison Ford.
1. More guys named Wolf.
Congratulations to CNN's own Wolf Blitzer for his good showing.
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