Line-item veto

A special form of veto in which the chief executive has the right to prevent particular provisions of a bill enacted by a legislative assembly from becoming law without having to kill all the other parts of the bill at the same time. Many state governors in the United States have line-item veto power with respect to at least some kinds of legislative enactment. Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton have all endorsed the idea of granting the President line-item veto powers over appropriations bills as a means of controlling the budget deficit problem, but the President of the United States has only recently acquired a very limited line-item veto power through certain changes in the rules of the House of Representatives and Senate. In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that even this limited form of line-item veto enacted by a simple Congressional majority was unconstitutional. Most Congressmen and Senators seem reluctant to approve a constitutional amendment to provide for a permanent line-item veto for the President because this power would enable him more easily to veto pork barrel projects or other special interest legislation that they have traditionally added into more urgent omnibus appropriations bills through skillful logrolling -- thus giving the President additional power to punish severely those members of Congress who have in some way opposed or displeased the President and potentially upsetting the current balance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government.

[See also: veto, separation of powers, checks and balances, appropriation bill, logrolling, pork-barrel legislation]