Clinton Disappointed By Line-Item Ruling; Welcomes McDougal's Release
By Wolf Blitzer/CNN
XIAN, China (AllPolitics, June 26) -- President Bill Clinton said he is disappointed that the Supreme Court stuck down the line-item veto Thursday, but he welcomed a decision by a federal judge to release his former business partner, Susan McDougal, from prison.
Clinton made the comments Friday during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters at a village outside of Xian, the first stop on the president's trip to China.
On the line-item veto, Clinton said, "I think that having it has made it much easier to control spending and control special interest tax breaks."
"So I hope very much that the Congress will not use this decision to move away from the path of fiscal discipline that we have followed the last five years that has gotten us to our present status of economic prosperity. I think it would be a mistake," Clinton said.
By a 6-to-3 majority, the Supreme Court said that the line-item veto -- which allows a president to veto specific items in a spending bill without vetoing the whole measure -- is unconstitutional. The court held that the Constitution only allows a president to sign or veto a bill in its entirety.
Clinton was the first president ever given line-item authority. He used it 82 times.
Also on Thursday, a federal judge in Arkansas decided to release McDougal early from a two-year sentence for bank fraud because of a debilitating spinal condition. She and her late husband, Jim, were friends and business partners with Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Whitewater, a failed 1980s land deal that was the genesis of the current investigation by Independent Counsel Ken Starr.
"I'm concerned about her health, and I hope it gets better," Clinton said. "I hope that the judge's decision puts her in a position where she can get over her pain and her difficulty."