After some thorough soul-searching, President Bush came to his senses about spending yesterday: “We can’t be all things to all people when it comes to spending the taxpayers’ money.” Ok, so it’s not fiscal conservatism at its roots, but it’s apparent progress from No Child Left Behind and the prescription drug bill. Next step in therapy: “The government isn’t the solution.”
While the President is taking a solid step in pushing for the line item veto (I’m really not sure how a tailored version gets around the unconstitutionality of the first go ’round… something not one news report about yesterday’s announcement explained), that is hardly an adequate explanation for his spending record. Legislative scapegoats won’t do — and since Bush hasn’t vetoed a spending bill, chances are Congress won’t take him seriously here.
UPDATE [10:30]: A helpful reader explains the constitutionality of the Bush proposal:
The Supremes called the line item veto unconstitutional because the 1996 law said that the President used the line item veto after Congress acted on a bill to cut items out of spending legislation. The Supreme Court decision said that violated Article I language that says the Congress passes legislation and then the president signs it or vetoes the whole thing. President Bush’s version is constitutional because the President is given unfinished bills (not yet passed or acted upon by Congress) for the President to cut up with the LIV. He then sends it back for Congress to vote on with an up or down vote in both houses. He retains the right to veto the entire legislation when it comes back to him.