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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Line-Item Veto A Trap For Obama?

Here we go again. Joining Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Paul Ryan on the "Janesville Veto" is Sen. John McCain. The "Janesville Veto" if you recall, was originally written two years ago to allow the president to cherry pick spending items attached to broader bills, then send those items back to Congress in a separate basket to be voted on again. If Congress did nothing, the extracted earmarks would fall back into the original bill which the president previously approved. Basically it's a giant spinning wheel when it's not used as a political weapon by the president.

Just consider the percentage of earmarks in the $787 billion stimulus bill as an example to see what all the commotion is about regarding a presidential line-item veto.
Yelp Excerpt:
Nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense estimates the legislation contains 8,570 disclosed earmarks worth $7.7 billion.
I'm not trying to make light of $7.7 billion, but that is less than 1 percent of the bill. Yet if we assume 10% of the earmarks can be defined as real pork, we're down to 1/10th of 1 percent. If any private business enterprise lost only 1/10th of 1 percent of their capital assets to theft, inventory shrinkage, accounting errors or just bonuses executives don't deserve, they would be celebrating. Wal-Mart wish they had it so easy. Congress must take responsibility for what they appropriate and pork writers need to be identified. Even with the line-item veto, chasing down less than 1% in debatable wasteful spending seems like an exercise in futility.

So, it's easy to see why some politicians and taxpayer groups make something out of almost nothing. Simply because it affords them a vehicle to grow a desired perception.

But I’m still miffed why someone as smart as Sen. Russ Feingold would continue to support such a political charade that will only hand additional powers to the executive branch. There are plenty of issues our senator could engage Republicans on, if that's the goal, but handing more power to the office of president – any president – shouldn’t be one of them. Ryan and his helpers think otherwise.
JG Excerpt:
Sweeney said the Janesville line-item veto passed the House in 2006 but stalled in the Senate. He said it was difficult to pass a bill that would give power to a very unpopular president, George W. Bush. But with a new president, along with an ailing economy and concerns about rampaging government spending, the bill has a better chance, Sweeney said hopefully.
Par for the course from the Janesville Gazette, this wasn't in quotes, but it is double-bad. To even imply that such veto powers might be more appropriate for one president and not the other stinks to high heaven. But Sweeney is a Ryan aide. He knows the game.

1 comment:

Democurmudgeon said...

Feingold joined the fringers, McCain and Ryan, to somehow complain about earmarks that might not be pork. Whining about 1% of the budget may say something about a side of Feingold we rarely see; he's got a petty side.

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