DoD Veto Override in Works

DoD Veto Override in Works

Implying that President Clinton used the line item veto on the fiscal 1998 Military Construction appropriations bill as a mere exercise of power, House Appropriations Chairman Livingston said Wednesday he may have no choice but to push for a veto override. In a letter to the president, Livingston said Congress created the veto authority to cut wasteful spending.

"We never intended that power be used at random against miscellaneous but worthy projects not blessed by the White House," he wrote. "We did not intend that it be used as a raw exercise of power to threaten, intimidate or exert revenge on wayward legislators."

Livingston charged Clinton failed to consult the Pentagon, and that his mistake in vetoing spending for the Olympic Village in Utah shows that the decision "was based on something other than an altruistic yearning to cut spending."

Livingston said the Utah example compels him to examine whether other mistakes were made and, if so, he would push for an override. "It is my hope, however, that fair and open consultation can avoid future embarrassments," he wrote.

Clinton Monday used his line item veto power on 38 separate projects in the Military Construction measure. Majority Leader Armey Tuesday said he did not expect any attempt to override the vetoes.

Meanwhile, Clinton today signed the $247.7 billion FY98 Defense spending bill that includes compromise language on the removal of U.S. troops from Bosnia and the purchase of additional B-2 stealth bombers. The bill contains about $3.2 billion more than was approved for the FY97 fiscal year; under line item veto authority, Clinton has until Tuesday to single out individual spending items.

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