Why is Bush pushing for the Line-Item Veto? There are identical bills in both the Senate (Govtrack) and the House (Govtrack). Although it seems like a worthwhile idea, I thought it was a done deal – the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 agreeing with a lower court that it was unconstitutional in 1998. Via an OLD CNN page (as always, all emphasis is mine):
The 6-3 ruling said that the Constitution gives a president only two choices: either sign legislation or send it back to Congress. The 1996 line-item veto law allowed the president to pencil out specific spending items approved by the Congress.
In his majority opinion Justice John Paul Stevens upheld a lower court's decision, concluding "the procedures authorized by the line-item veto act are not authorized by the Constitution."
If Congress wants to give the president that power, they will have to pass a constitutional amendment, Stevens said. "If there is to be a new procedure in which the president will play a different role in determining the text of what may become a law, such change must come not by legislation but through the amendment procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution," Stevens said.
I suppose that stare decisis compels the Court, even with the new conservative makeup, to consider the 1998 ruling. Maybe the hubub over signing-statements has something to do with it? Or is this more "rally the base" noise, like immigration, gay marriage, etc.? Or with a Congress and a White House who has NEVER shown any fiscal discipline, is this a way to show the populace that there serious this time?