TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP APPLAUDS SUPREME COURT RULING ON LINE-ITEM VETO

For Immediate Release    Contact:  Jim Campi
May 19, 1997 (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) applauds today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Line-Item Veto Act.  The act, signed into law last year, gives the White House unprecedented authority to cut wasteful spending in appropriations, tax and entitlement bills.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling gives President Clinton enormous power to cut pork-barrel spending and reduce the budget deficit,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “Previous presidents were held hostage by a budget process that gave the chief executive only two options:  approve everything or get nothing.  The line-item veto unshackles the President and allows him to eliminate waste without shutting down the government.”

CAGW has long been a leader in the fight for enactment of a line-item veto.  Since 1990, CAGW has published its annual Congressional Pig Book, a compilation of egregious pork-barrel spending that could be eliminated by a President with line-item veto authority.  According to the 1997 Congressional Pig Book, use of the line-item veto could have saved taxpayers $14.5 billion in FY 1997 alone.

Not surprisingly, it was six of the biggest pork-barrel spenders in Congress who brought suit against the new Line Item Veto Act.  According to the group’s 1996 Congressional Ratings, these six members averaged a dismal lifetime rating of only 26 percent out of a possible 100 percent score.  The ratings are based on key votes in Congress that would have eliminated wasteful government spending.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the spokesman for the six members involved in the suit, is world-renowned for his ability to bring home the bacon.  Before Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, Byrd used his position as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to squelch several attempts to bring a vote on the line-item veto to the Senate floor.

“Merely the threat of a line-item veto has the big-spenders in Congress running scared,” Schatz stated.  “They know the new law will bring unwanted attention to larded-up appropriations bills.  Few pet projects will be able to survive such scrutiny.”

CAGW is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to eliminating waste, inefficiency, and mismanagement in the federal government.  For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Jim Campi at (202) 467-5300.

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