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House Overrides DoD Vetoes

House Overrides DoD Vetoes

letters@govexec.com

The House of Representatives Thursday reversed President Clinton's veto of 38 military construction projects worth $287 million.

In a 347-69 vote, the House approved the projects, which Clinton axed with line-item vetoes last fall from the 1998 Military Construction Appropriations bill. Under line-item veto rules, Congress passed a new measure rejecting Clinton's vetoes. Clinton vetoed the new measure again. Now that the House has overridden that veto, it is up to the Senate to decide the fate of the 38 projects.

Members of Congress blasted Clinton after the administration admitted it had used outdated information from the Defense Department to decide which projects to cut. Furthermore, some military leaders told Congress they were not consulted on the line-item veto decision.

"The line-item veto authority can only be effective if it is used properly to cut wasteful and unneeded spending," said Rep. Ron Packard, R-Calif. "The President used his line-item veto authority in this instance carelessly and casually."

Construction projects that will be resurrected if the Senate follows the House's lead include:

  • A $19.9 million wharf project at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia.
  • A new Marine Corps Reserve Training Center and an aircraft facilities upgrade in Johnstown, Pa., worth $14 million.
  • A $14 million theater air simulation facility at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
  • Rail track improvements in Fort Carson, Colo., worth $16 million.
  • A $17.9 million docking upgrade at Mayport Naval Station, Fla.
  • $10.1 million for the Marine Mammal Program at Coronado Naval Amphibious Base, Calif.

Some House members continued their call to eliminate the line-item veto authority. But their arguments may soon be moot: the authority can only be used when the federal budget registers a deficit.

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