In 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that giving the president the power to single-handedly strip a bill of items before signing it was unconstitutional, but even so President Obama (like President Bush before him, and many other predecessors) is going to seek out increased powers to cut spending from bills once they reach his desk. These efforts always fail, as congressional pork has become so embedded in the United States federal process that the idea of giving up control of it strikes fear into the heart of any legislator planning on running for reelection. Also, Congress is extremely wary of giving up its power over the government’s purse strings. But Obama’s measure is merely a strengthening of his position — he’d like to force the House and Senate to act on any presidential requests to rescind items within 25 days, rather than allowing them to just ignore requests, as the system works now. The White House is hoping that growing anti-debt sentiment among voters will give this bill a shot that previous presidential efforts haven’t had.
Obama to Seek Line-Item Veto Power to Trim Spending From Bills [NYT]