The Line-Item Veto: Your Comments
We've gotten a big bag of e-mail on President Bill Clinton's use of his new line-item veto power, most of it favorable. If you have a comment on that, or anything in the day's news, drop us a line at editor@AllPolitics.com. Be sure to include your name and home town.
'The System Works!'
Hurrah! The system works! I'm proud of Bill Clinton for vetoing any kind of self-interest exclusion, particularly when the affected parties are contributors to either one of the parties. I'd like to have seen him veto all five of the proposed possibilities. But I felt Saturday, in my heart, that he would do "the right thing" -- he knows what it is and what will REALLY make a legacy!
-- Robert A. Yates, Eugene, Ore., Aug. 11
'Too Much Power'
I'm against the line-item veto, because I believe it provides too much power for the President, and upsets the delicate balance of power set up by the founders of this country.
Of course, if it can be used against this Republican-led Congress, I guess I don't mind it that much after all.
-- Kurt Heiden, Boulder Creek, Calif., Aug. 11
President Clinton is totally transparent in his choice of veto items. It is indeed petty politics at its worst. He fooled no one in the entire country with his sanctimonious drivel at the signing of the vetoes.
-- Arnold Simon, Davie, Fla., Aug. 11
'Pork Barrel Nonsense'
It's about time the American people had a way to stop all of the "pork barrel" nonsense that has been passed by Congress after Congress for eons.
I've never voted for Clinton and never would, but I think his use of the line-item veto in these three cases was completely appropriate. I am appalled that Newt Gingrich's spokeswoman has criticized him for it and I think that Trent Lott's response showed a lot more political, not to mention common, sense.
If the Congress doesn't like the vetoes, let them overrule Clinton or whatever president and then justify their action to the voters.
This is the best thing that has happened to average Americans since the beginning of the republic.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment!
-- Dick Bureson, La Jolla, Calif., Aug.11
'Glad To See It Happen'
As one president of ours once said, "The buck stops here."
Unfortunately, it hasn't stopped at that table for many generations. The power of presidential veto has been eroded by the frequent inclusion of special-interest items on popular bills, which if vetoed by the president, would cost him his re-election. In this method for many years, things that are not in the general interest of the U.S. citizens have been made into law simply to avoid vetoing necessary bills.
The line-item veto allows the president to again say, "The buck stops here" -- and mean it.
It's about time someone in Washington could legitimately be held responsible for what does and does not get passed into law, and I'm glad to see it happen.
-- Alvin W. Brinson, Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 11
'Playing At Being President'
He is just being Bill Clinton, playing at being president. He just cannot do anything that doesn't have something to do with politics! ... Get real; he is plastic.
-- Ann Howell, Marietta, Ga., Aug. 11
The media can redeem itself in the public's eye by making the "pork" projects more visible to the general public and by including the e-mail addresses of the congressmen/congresswomen who are responsible for them. I don't mind if individual states want to fund their own pork but I don't want my ever-increasing taxes to fund projects which benefit only a very select few. The line-item veto is a must for the president as a means to limit spending and protect the American people from what amounts to taxation without representation.
-- M.F. Caldwell, Aug. 12
'All In Favor'
I'm all in favor of the line-item veto for the president. As mentioned, 44 states already have it and it hopefully will help slow if not stop pork-barrel spending which over the years has contributed heavily to the massive deficit we now have. Too bad we didn't have it before Robert Byrd of West Virginia (Mr. Pork) had his fun flushing taxpayers' money down the drain among many others!
-- James T. Short, Zionsville, Ind., Aug. 11
'An Undemocratic Weapon'
The line-item veto is an undemocratic weapon given to the president. All provisions of the budget, however small or unpopular, were the result of negotiations, hearings, or amendments. By allowing the president to eliminate certain spending or tax provisions, the president can undo an agreement which he made. The only way to get things done in D.C. is to compromise and make agreements. This power allows him to undue agreements and violate the spirit of a bill which he signed. I oppose the line item veto.
-- Jon Marc Buffa, Freehold, N.J., Aug. 11
'An Entire Bill'
As an "amateur" constitutionalist, I believe the line-item veto is an unconstitutional grant of authority to the President and will eventually be found to be so by the Court. This is based on Section 7(2) of Article I detailing that an "entire" bill shall be approved or not by the President. It makes no mention of portions of a bill being vetoed. At some time the Court will overrule the line-item veto!
-- K. Douglass, Chardon, Ohio, Aug. 11
I'm sick of seeing special-interest legislation being passed by virtue of political blackmail. I like the line-item veto!
-- Beverly Houghton, Sherman, Texas, Aug. 11
'Should Have Vetoed Even MORE'
As long as he didn't veto any item specifically agreed to in the budget talks, then he's done the right thing. He should have vetoed even MORE pork.
-- Paul Ruzicka, Aug. 11
I'm sure the president would have vetoed the tobacco taxes in the budget as not being stringent enough on our tobacco industry but he did not want to have the Supreme Court's word on the constitutionality of that one!
-- Barbara Shoener, Corona, Calif., Aug. 11
'Don't Think It Is Constitutional'
Although I overwhelmingly agree with the concept of a line-item veto on a practical level, I highly doubt it will be able to survive a test through the Supreme Court. Simply stated, as the Constitution stands right now, I don't think it is constitutional. This court seems to have re-embraced the concept of strict constructionism, and I believe they will echo that doctrine in their decision.
-- J.P. Cost, Aug. 11
I am so glad that the president has the line-item veto now. I can't believe some of the things the Congress puts into bills hoping to benefit a few of their friends. It would be so nice to have a Congress that is honest and lives in the real world.
-- Jackie Linn, Whitney, Texas, Aug. 11
Congratulations to the president for having the guts to line-item veto those articles that he chose. I have voted Republican for many years, but they need to wake up. The president did the right thing.
-- J.W. Cowand Jr., Aug. 11
'Should Be Careful'
I approve of the line item veto in general and of Clinton's use of the veto today ... I think the veto should be used sparingly, however, and primarily to reduce "pork barrel" spending and for items that favor special interest groups. I think any president should be careful not to play partisan politics with the use of this veto power. It must be used in the best interest of the country.
Whether the law creating the line item veto is constitutional or not is a matter for the courts to decide. It is unclear to me whether Congress has given up anything at all. The Constitution does not require the President to approve of spending measures passed by the Congress; but neither should the Congress to engage in political payoffs through the use of pork barrel spending or in the passage of laws for special interest groups. Neither is in the best interest of the American people.
I consider myself an Independent, neither Democrat nor Republican nor of any other political party affiliation or persuasion. Because of this, I cannot accept unnecessary spending of any type. I formerly worked in DoD [Department of Defense] and am quite familiar with wasteful and/or unnecessary spending; to boldly budget for unnecessary spending galls me.
-- Augustus H. Green, Jr., New Market, Ala., Aug. 11
'A TOOL, Not As A WEAPON'
I had hoped the president would not use the line-item veto this time around. What I hope and what I get is two different things.
Now that he is going to use the line-item veto I only hope he use it as a TOOL not as a WEAPON. The latter is what I fear and the latter is probably what I'll get. I can only hope now that the TV/Press media does not allow the tax part of the line-item veto to be considered as spending. If the TV/Press media allows this to happen without some outrage, it will only add to the already lack of trust and confidence in the TV/Press media.
A last comment on the line-item veto: If anyone can abuse the intent of this "power" that has been given to the president, the man we now have in the White House can. (He should have listened to Erskine Bowles and his other advisors on this! That is: WAIT UNTIL THE APPROPRIATIONSBILL(s) later this year) ...
-- Pat Manning, Doylestown, Pa., Aug. 11
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