"Shame" Is the Most Appropriate Term

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Shame" Is the Most Appropriate Term

On Monday, President Bush formally submitted a legislative proposal to Congress that would give the president line-item veto power, but the announcement received very little press coverage. I can't say I'm surprised.

It's hard to take something like this seriously when it's coming from a president who hasn't had the courage to veto a single bill during his 5 years in the White House.

Earlier this week, a press briefing on the line-item veto was hosted by Office of Management & Budget (OMB) Director Josh Bolten. Here are excerpts from this briefing:
QUESTION: But why hasn't Bush been more active in using his existing rescission authority? Given the fact that both Houses of Congress are of the same party, couldn't you shame them into delivering votes under existing authority?

BOLTEN: Well, there is existing authority to send up rescission packages, but they -- and I think there's been something in the Impoundment Act for the last 30 years. But we've been unable to find any instances in which a President has successfully been able to use that authority. I think the principal defect of the authority that exists now is that there is no particular guarantee that a provision can or will be brought to a vote ...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

QUESTION: ... you mentioned that there's -- you found no evidence that [rescission authority] had been used successfully by past presidents, but like the questioner noted, you've had a President who for six years has governed with his own party. Do you have a number on how many rescissions President Bush has actually sought during his term?

BOLTEN: In the technical sense of rescissions under the Impoundment Act, I don't think we've tried to use that, and as I mentioned, we don't -- I don't think we have any cases of previous presidents successfully using it. There may have been one or two attempts. It was kind of hard to figure out from the historical documents ...

QUESTION: But you never thought of using it, given that none of those past presidents, except for brief periods, had a Congress of their own party?

BOLTEN: I would have -- maybe, you're probably much better on the history than I am, but I would expect that there be a number of presidents in the past 30 years who did have Congresses of congenial parties. But I don't think -- but it's not really an issue of having control of one House or another. ....
Blah, blah, blah ....

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