Supplementing our July 17 post on Professor Richard Epstein's commentary regarding presidential signing statements, the ACS Blog recently treats the same subject in the wake of President Bush's first use of his veto power on federal funding for stem-cell research. Martin Magnusson's post argues that President Bush's abuse of presidential signing statements -- to explain why he is entitled to ignore or violate certain provisions of federal legislation with which he disagrees as he signs the congressional enactment into law -- functions like the line-item veto power conferred by Congress (and afterwards exercised 11 times by President Clinton to strike 82 items) that was invalidated by the Supreme Court in 1998 in Clinton v. New York as violative of the Presentment Clause.
New line-item veto legislation (the Legislative Line Item Veto Act of 2006), proposed by President Bush in his January 2006 State of the Union message, has been introduced in the Senate by Majority Leader Frist, R-Tenn. (S. 2381) and in the House by Representative Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (H.R. 4890). The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a D.C. think-tank, has this commentary on the pending legislation.
The House passed H.R. 4890 calling for a six-year line-item veto, ostensibly to cut down on so-called "pork barrell" spending, on June 22, 2006 by a 247-172 vote. However, the bill fails to grant full line-item veto powers such as the statute struck down in Clinton v. New York; rather, the bill permits the President to return specific funding measures embedded in or attached as riders to enacted legislation to Congress within 45 days of their enactment for another vote. The Senate has not considered the measure to date.
Forbes magazine's article on the new proposed line-item veto legislation appears here.