CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress – Whose Line is it Anyway: Could Congress Give the President a Line-Item Veto? March 27, 2018.
“In announcing his intention to sign H.R. 1625, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018,” President Trump, noting his concerns over the fiscal size of the bill, called on Congress to provide him with a “line- item veto for all government spending bills.” Tw o days later, the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, similarly maintained that Congress “should give the president a line-item veto.” These remarks resulted in immediate rebukes by several commentators, who, citing the Supreme Court’s 1998 ruling in Clinton v. City of New York, argued that the Court already resolved the legality of the line-item veto by striking down such a provision in a 1996 law. At the same time, the Trump Administration’s calls for a line-item veto echo those of other Presidentswho sought such authority even after City of New York, under the premise that the invalidated law could be revised to address the Court’s objections. Because Congress has not enacted any such proposals, the question remains whether the High Court’s 1998 ruling wholly forecloses Congress’s ability to authorize the President’s veto of individual provisions of spending legislation. This Sidebar provides an overview of the Court’s decision in City of New York and examines what (if any) possibility exists for a constitutional, line-item veto authority for the President…”