More Info on Rep. Paul Ryan’s Line Item Veto Legislation

Here are some excerpts from a factsheet on Rep. Ryan’s proposed legislation. For a list of the 110 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, click here 

State of the Union

  • In his State of the Union Address, the President asked Congress to give him the Line Item Veto.
  • On March 6, President Bush transmitted legislation to Congress that would give him a constitutional Line Item Veto.
  • His legislation enjoys 29 cosponsors in the Senate and 108 in the House.

Background and Need for the Legislation

  • Line Item Veto enjoys bipartisan support
  • President Clinton used the Line Item Veto 82 times, but the Supreme Court found that law unconstitutional in 1998.
  • Since the Line Item Veto was struck down, earmarks have increased dramatically.
  • Governors in 43 states have a Line Item Veto.

What the Legislation Does: “Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006”

  • Provides the President with the authority to propose the elimination of spending earmarks (discretionary and direct) and narrow special-interest tax breaks included in broader legislation that arrives at his desk for signature.  
  • Preserves Congress’ power of the purse under the U.S. Constitution by requiring an up-or-down vote in both chambers under an expedited process in order to effectuate the President’s proposed rescissions

The Process

  1. The President identifies wasteful discretionary spending, direct spending, or a special-interest tax break in legislation that is being signed into law.
  2. Within 45 days, the President may submit a limited number of special messages to Congress, asking for the cancellation of a spending item or items.
  3. House and Senate leadership have five days to introduce the President’s rescission request.
  4. The rescission bill is referred to the appropriate committee, which has seven days to report the bill without amendment.
  5. Following committee action, any Member of Congress can force a vote of the full House or Senate within two days.
  6. If the House and Senate pass the President’s rescission proposal, it is sent to the President for signature and becomes law. If a simple majority of either house votes against it, the rescission is not enacted.