Ron Paul
2006 Ron Paul Chapter 47

Ron Paul Legislative Line Item Veto Act

22 June 2006

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Legislative Line Item Veto Act
22 June 2006

2006 Ron Paul 47:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 4890, the Legislative Line Item Veto Act, is not an effective means of reining in excessive government spending. In fact, H.R. 4890 would most likely increase the size of government because future presidents will use their line item veto powers to pressure members of Congress to vote for presidential priorities in order to avoid having their spending projects “line item” vetoed. In my years in Congress, I cannot recall a single instance where a president lobbied Congress to reduce spending. In fact, in 1996 Vice President Al Gore suggested that President Clinton could use his new line item veto power to force Congress to restore federal spending and programs eliminated in the 1996 welfare reform bill. Giving the president authority to pressure members of Congress to vote for new government programs in exchange for protecting members’ pet spending projects is hardly a victory for fiscal responsibility or limited government.

2006 Ron Paul 47:2
H.R. 4890 supporters claim that this bill does not violate the Constitution. I am skeptical of this claim since giving the president the power to pick and choose which parts of legislation to sign into law transforms the president into a legislator, thus upending the Constitution’s careful balance of powers between the Congress and the president. I doubt the drafters of the Constitution, who rightly saw that giving legislative power to the executive branch would undermine republican government and threaten individual liberty, would support H.R. 4890.

2006 Ron Paul 47:3
Mr. Speaker, it is simply not true that Congress needs to give the president the line item veto power to end excessive spending. Congress can end excessive spending simply by returning to the limitations on government power contained in the United States Constitution. The problem is a lack of will among members of Congress to rein in spending, not a lack of presidential power. Congress’s failure to do its duty and cut spending is no excuse for granting new authority to the executive branch.

2006 Ron Paul 47:4
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the Legislative Line Item Veto Act upsets the constitutional balance of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. Increasing the power of the executive branch will likely increase the size and power of the federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to reject this bill and instead simply vote against all unconstitutional spending.

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