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Talent pushes for federal line-item veto

Sen. Jim Talent (R-Missouri)


Washington, DC – Missouri's junior U.S. Senator is trying to revive the idea of a line-item veto for the president.

Republican Jim Talent has proposed a constitutional amendment that would give the president the power to reject certain spending items without vetoing an entire bill.

Most states already allow their governors to do that, including Missouri and Illinois. But similar efforts at the federal level have failed.

Talent says high deficits and extra spending on Iraq and hurricane relieve have put a new focus on belt-tightening. He introduced the measure with fellow Republican George Allen of Virginia.

"Our amendment will strengthen the hand of the executive by giving the President the discretion to remove items from appropriations bills that may have been logrolled in by the Congress but are considered wasteful on a national perspective," Talent said in a statement.

Congress passed a law allowing the line-item veto in 1996. President Clinton first used it on Aug. 11, 1997 and 81 times thereafter. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 1998.

The woman who has announced a bid to unseat Talent in next year's election, Auditor Claire McCaskill, issued a statement, saying she, too, supports the idea of a line item veto.

"Unfortunately for the working families in Missouri getting hit with $3-a-gallon gas prices, a line item veto cannot bring back the $14 billion in tax giveaways to companies like Exxon, Shell, and Amoco that Jim Talent helped push through Congress," McCaskill added.

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