Line-Item Veto Limits

Congressional Republican leaders are warning the Clinton administration that the president's new line item veto powers are far less powerful than administration officials seem to believe.

In a letter to President Clinton today, House Rules Chairman Solomon, House Budget Chairman Kasich, Senate Budget Chairman Domenici, incoming Senate Appropriations Chairman Stevens and six other GOP leaders contend, "We have become concerned that statements made by you and other administration officials indicate an apparent lack of clear understanding about the reach and proper application of the line item veto authority."

The Republicans said they are concerned administration officials have said Clinton would have used the new authority to veto national speed limit legislation, as well as part of the welfare reform bill.

According to the Republican leaders, the line item veto authority "is expressly defined and narrowly proscribed" only to apply to dollar amounts of discretionary spending, new direct spending and limited tax benefits. The law also specifically states that the president may only cancel an item if doing so reduces the deficit.

"In no way can these definitions and this process be interpreted to include the type of broad policy matters found in ... legislative provisions," the GOP leaders said in the letter.

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