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Bush defends constitutionality of line-item veto bill

[JURIST] President Bush on Tuesday again pressed the US Senate to pass a line-item veto bill [text, PDF; summary, PDF] that was approved by the House last week [JURIST report]. Speaking in Washington to members of the Manhattan Institute [think tank website], Bush emphasized [White House transcript] that the bill was crafted to pass constitutional muster:

We figured out that, obviously, any line-item veto would again be challenged to our highest court. And so we proposed the following type of legislation: When the President sees an earmark or spending provision that is wasteful or unnecessary, he can send it back to the Congress. And Congress is then required to hold a prompt up or down vote on whether to retain the targeted spending. In other words, the Congress is still in the process.

The line-item veto submitted would meet the Court's constitutional requirements. And that's important. Members of Congress need to know that we've thought carefully about this, and we've worked with them to make sure that that which is passed is constitutional.
The US Supreme Court struck down [decision text] a 1996 line-item veto law [text, PDF] as violating the constitutional separation of powers. Unlike the 1996 law, the current bill allows Congress to override line-item vetoes by a simple majority, rather than a two-thirds supermajority. Bush also devoted last Sunday's radio address [JURIST report] to the line-item veto. AP has more.

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