The line item veto after two years : a case study
Lewis, J. Christopher
Doyle, Richard B.
Barrett, Frank J.
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The primary purpose of this thesisis to determine the political and fiscal impact of the Line ItemVeto on the budgeting process. It examines the history of the line item veto prior to the congressional elections of 1994, and then considers the legislative history of the Line Item Veto Act during the 104th Congress (1995-96). It explains the various arguments surrounding the requirement for a line item veto, and explores the methods that supporters employed to provide this power to the President. It also considers the various legal challenges to the Line Item Veto Act, culminating with the 1998 Supreme Court ruling that the Act was unconstitutional. The chief finding of the thesis is that, in the Act's only year of employment, it failed to have a significant impact on the budgeting process. President Clinton primarily used the measure to trim items from appropriations bills, most of which came on the Military Construction Appropriations Act. Congress and the federal courts overturned nearly half of his 1997 cancellations prior to the Supreme Court's ruling that the Act was unconstitutional. While it introduced a new dynamic into the budgeting process, it did not represent a significant shift in budgetary powers from Congress to the President, as many critics had feared.
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