Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Bush Gives Himself a Line-Item Veto

Posted by MEC on February 2, 2008

On January 29, Bush issued Executive Order 13457, “Protecting American Taxpayers From Government Spending on Wasteful Earmarks”.

The executive order follows through on the threat the President made during his State of the Union address this week to sharply curtail the ability of Members of Congress, through the use of earmarks in committee report language, to designate funds in appropriations legislation for specific projects or organizations, most often in their district or state.


Specifically, the Executive Order:

Directs every Federal Agency to ensure that laws passed by Congress in the future do not spend money on an earmarked project based on language in a Committee report or any other communication from Members of Congress or other persons acting on their behalf.

In effect, the Executive Order declares the Bush has the power to reject against any part of the budget passed by Congress that Bush doesn’t like: a de facto line-item veto. Never mind that the Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that the Constitution does not permit the president to decide, item by item, which parts of the budget to accept or reject. If Bush doesn’t have the power of line-item veto before he signs the budget bill, he doesn’t have it afterward, either.

The flagrant violation of the Constitution isn’t the only offensive thing about this Executive Order.

Bush didn’t act against earmarks until the Democrats gained control of Congress and the number and cost of earmarks decreased:

The use of earmarks grew exponentially during President Bush’s years in the White House when the Republican Party controlled Congress. According to the watchdog group Citizen’s Against Government Waste, in 2001 there were 6,333 earmarks totaling $18.5 billion in the federal budget. By 2005, that number had ballooned to $27.3 billion for 13,997 projects. In 2007, the first year the Democrats controlled Congress, the numbers dropped dramatically to $13.2 billion for 2,658 earmarks

The Executive Order doesn’t go into effect until Fiscal Year 2009 (beginning October 1, 2008). By the time it has any effect (if enforced), Bush will be out of the White House. Bush just gave himself the power to decide how the next Administration spends the taxpayers’ money.

The first thing the next President needs to do after taking the oath of office is issue an Executive Order declaring all of George W. Bush’s Executive Orders rescinded, effective immediately.


10 Responses to “Bush Gives Himself a Line-Item Veto”

  1. And of course the press largely fluffs him on this.

  2. MEC said

    “And of course the press largely fluffs him on this.”

    Oh yeah. The few news articles I could find were, “Oh look! Bush attacks pork!” With the occasional comment, “Why didn’t he do it when the Republicans controlled the budget?” (I’d bet real money that while the Busheviks control the federal offices, the EO will be enforced against Democratic earmarks but not Republican.)

    Only the LA Times recognized the real issue: It’s another power grab.

  3. “he Executive Order doesn’t go into effect until Fiscal Year 2009 (beginning October 1, 2008). By the time it has any effect (if enforced), Bush will be out of the White House.”

    what an ass!

  4. Charles said

    Nixon called this “impoundment.” It was an impeachable offense then. It is an impeachable offense now.

  5. The Ox said

    Bush gives himself a line item veto? Gotta admit that the man can multitask. He gives himself a line item veto at the same time he gives Dick Cheney a…uh…well….never mind.

    Seriously though, this man and his team of neocon lunatic advisers have an extraordinarily warped view of the constitution. Remember things we all once thought were gaffes?

    -“The legislature’s job is to write law. It’s the executive branch’s job to interpret law.”

    -“If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

    Who knew that these weren’t gaffes but were in fact his governing philosophy. Geez.

  6. What are the legal consequences? The executive order defines an “earmark” as: “any funds provided by Congress for projects, programs, or grants where the congressional direction (whether in statutory text, report language, or other communication) (1) circumvents merit-based or competitive allocation processes; (2) specifies the location or recipient of the funds; or (3) otherwise limits the ability of the Executive Branch to manage its statutory and constitutional responsibilities for the allocation of federal funds.” I don’t see how the Executive Branch CAN refuse to follow a “congressional direction” if the earmark is “in statutory text.” If the LAW said, for example, that $10 million goes to schools affected by Hurricane Katrina, wouldn’t it be illegal for the government agency to say “No, that’s an earmark, so the agency will decide what to do with the funds”? I mean, if a government agency actually refused to spend the money as the law directed, wouldn’t the agency be in violation of the law? Why would ANYONE think that an EO could override the text of a law? If an agency refused to spend the money as specified, wouldn’t the intended recipients have a legal right enforceable in court?

  7. Leah said

    The Executive Order doesn’t go into effect until Fiscal Year 2009 (beginning October 1, 2008). By the time it has any effect (if enforced), Bush will be out of the White House.

    Will he? Or will he declare martial law before the next election…thereby remaining president until he damn will decides to leave on his own terms? It wouldn’t surprise me in the least!

  8. Nikki said

    I agree with Leah — he’s not leaving office !

    A completely un-noticed video clip several months ago caught Bush’s real intentions: He referred to Putin inserting a puppet leader to ‘keep his seat’ during an interim term as a plan to stay in power.

    Bush chuckled — I’VE GOT SOME PLANS FOR THAT MYSELF !!!

    Where are bloggers who can find that interview ? I haven’t the resources, but it’s a piece of PURE GOLD waiting out there.

  9. MEC said

    “Why would ANYONE think that an EO could override the text of a law?”

    Because Dubya’s been using EOs and signing statements to defy federal laws since just about the day he took office, and nobody’s stopped him yet.

    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

  10. […] health care as the budget would cover. That argument is particularly cynical, considering that Bush has declared that he gets to decide whether budgeted money is actually spent for its intended purpose, so […]

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