Clinton Uses Line-Item Veto On Military Projects
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 6) -- President Bill Clinton took up his line-item veto pen today, striking 38 projects totaling $287 million from a military construction appropriations bill. (224K wav sound)
"The use of the line-item veto saves taxpayers nearly $290 million and makes clear the old rules have in fact changed," the president said during the Oval Office event. It was only the second time the line-item veto power has been used at the federal level. (416K wav sound)
Earlier in the day, the White House released a list of projects to be vetoed, which included projects in House Speaker Newt Gingrich's home state of Georgia and in South Dakota, which Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle represents.
"These were difficult decisions because some of the projects were certainly worthy but they don't meet the criteria," White House spokesman Mike McCurry told reporters. Projects were candidates for vetoes, McCurry explained, if they weren't included in Clinton's budget request; if the design work was incomplete; or if the project did not offer a "substantial contribution" to the welfare of U.S. troops.
"I don't argue with the criteria," said Daschle, who told reporters the White House had informed him a National Guard facility in his state was targeted. "That doesn't mean I'll accept the consequences in the long term."
In Georgia, Moody Air Force Base stands to lose a $6.8 million military training center. McCurry denied politics had anything to do with the projects singled out, and Congress can override Clinton's vetoes if two-thirds approve.
The list of projects had been pared down from more than 200 items originally identified by the White House staff as possible veto targets. Among the items axed were $19.9 million for a wharf at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia; $17.9 million for a Florida naval station; and $16 million for a military project in Carson, Colo.
Historically, the military construction bill has been used by lawmakers to finance so-called "pork-barrel" appropriations for projects in their home districts.
The military bill was the first of 13 major appropriations bills that will come to the president's desk this budget year. It funded all of the priority military construction projects requested by the Clinton Administration. In addition, lawmakers attached a laundry list of projects costing about $1 billion.
Clinton first used the line-item veto in August to strike three provisions from a budget bill. Though Republicans made passage of the line-item veto part of their 1994 Contract With America, some GOP lawmakers reacted angrily when the president first used the new presidential power.
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Monday Oct. 6, 1997
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