For Immediate Release    Contact:  Jim Campi
August 11, 1997 (202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today praised President Bill Clinton for using his newly-acquired line-item veto power to eliminate two tax provisions and one spending item included within the recent balanced budget agreement.

“I applaud the President for his willingness to use the veto pen,” said CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “The line-item veto is specifically designed to deny the enactment of these kinds of special-interest provisions.”

 The tax items Mr. Clinton “canceled” were an $84 million tax deferral from the sale of a sugar beet processing plant, and a five-year, $317 million tax break for banks, insurance companies and investment firms on income from their overseas businesses.  On the spending side, the President canceled a provision that allowed New York state to use taxes collected from health care providers to cover $200 million in Medicaid expenses.  The item exempted New York from a 1991 law, treating it differently than all other states.  Congress has 30 days to “disapprove” the President’s veto through passage of a new bill by a simple majority vote in each house.  Mr. Clinton may then veto the new bill and return it to both houses where a two-thirds vote would be required for an override.

The line-item veto may also face a court challenge.  In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law pending its implementation.  The court said that once the President used the veto, the “injured” party in the action could seek redress and thereby serve as the test case for the constitutionality of the line-item veto law.

Previous reports speculated that President Clinton would veto as many as five of the 79 special-interest tax breaks included in the budget deal. He decided against vetoing other targeted items, including a huge tax break for hard cider makers and a $2.3 billion tax refund for Amtrak.

“We urged the President to use his veto power on more items,” Schatz stated.  “And we strongly encourage him to invoke the line-item veto in the fall when appropriations legislation reaches his desk.  Those bills are always riddled with wasteful pork-barrel spending items that do not serve the general interest.”

In last year’s 13 appropriations’ bills, CCAGW identified more than 1,500 pork-barrel projects totaling $14.5 billion of unauthorized spending.  When the appropriations process resumes this fall, CCAGW plans to keep taxpayers and President Clinton informed about  further opportunities to use the line-item veto through its Pork Patrol.

CCAGW is a 600,000 member lobbying organization dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.  For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Jim Campi at (202) 467-5300.


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