AND TWO SENATORS ARE GOING TO INTRODUCE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT SUPPORTING JUST THAT - Senators Talent and Allen, both of the GOP; (hat tip Ponnuru at NRO's THE CORNER). RIGHT ON!
UPDATE 9/27 -THE CORNER:
TALENT WALKS THE LINE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I just spoke to Senator Jim Talent (R., Mo.) about the constitutional amendment that Sen. George Allen (R., Va.) and he have introduced to create a line-item veto.“This kind of structural change could make a real difference,” he says. He concedes that empowering the executive could, on occasion, work to increase spending: A liberal president could get congressmen to vote for a new entitlement by threatening to zero out projects in their districts. But he thinks that the net effect would be to cut spending, as it has been in states with the line-item veto.Talent has concluded that “[t]he nature of the legislative process is that legislatures are going to spend money on low-priority items, and the way to avoid that is to empower the executive, who is going to have different incentives and priorities.”But if the president has been unwilling to exercise his existing constitutional powers, such as the veto, to cut spending, why would granting him new powers make any difference? “One of the reasons he doesn’t use [the veto] is [that] it’s been so diluted. The approp[riation]s bills are so big now that he’s behind the eight-ball. If he wants certain appropriations, he can’t veto the others.” He says that a statutory change would have been preferable, since it would be easy to fix imperfections. But the Supreme Court, by holding the line-item veto unconstitutional, foreclosed that option. He’s bullish on his prospects. Two-thirds of Congress voted for the line-item veto statute in 1996. The question, he says, is: “Are we serious about reducing wasteful spending?” All of the congressmen, of both parties, “who have been wringing their hands about spending will have an opportunity to do something about it.”