President Donald Trump on Friday called for reinstating the line-item veto, a practice ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998.
Trump’s call for a line-item veto, by which he would be able to reject only certain portions of legislation without vetoing it entirely, came amid Friday-afternoon remarks at the White House in which he excoriated Congress, and especially Democrats, for presenting to him an omnibus bill that met his demand for a dramatic increase in military spending but nonetheless included funding for “things that are really a wasted sum of money.”
“To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I’m calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for all government spending bills, and the Senate must end — they must end the filibuster rule and get down to work,” the president said. “We have to get a lot of great legislation approved, and without the filibuster rule, it’ll happen just like magic.”
Trump said he had signed the omnibus bill, which he had threatened earlier Friday to veto, but declared he would never again sign such a bill, which he complained had too much spending and had been presented to him with not enough time to read the 2,200-plus-page bill.
Past presidents from both parties have called on Congress to give them a line-item veto, a power that the governors of more than 40 states possess. Lawmakers passed legislation to give the president a line-item veto in 1996, but that law was overturned in 1998 by the Supreme Court by a 6-3 vote.
Trump’s demand that the Senate do away with its legislative filibuster, which requires most legislation to clear a 60-vote threshold to pass the chamber, is a repeat of a position he has long since staked out. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who last year removed the filibuster hurdle for judicial nominations in order to secure the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, has said he will never eliminate the legislative filibuster for as long as he is majority leader.