Senator Russ Feingold thinks a presidential line item veto may get done in this session of Congress. Feingold calls it the “Janesville line-item veto” after the hometown he shares with House Republican Paul Ryan. And Feingold expects this presidential veto pen could have a deterrent effect – with less pork being slipped into bills in the first place. “It’s one thing when you can kind of quietly slip the Lawrence Welk museum in North Dakota in at the last minute and people don’t really notice it. It’s another thing when a president can say ‘hey, who did this and why did they do it, and you guys are going to vote on this again.’ I think that will have a deterent effect as well as getting rid of some items specifically,” said Feingold.
In the Senate, the bill already has the backing of Independent Joe Leiberman, Delaware Democrat Tom Carper and Arizona Republican John McCain – and President Obama is on board as well. “We’ve got a pretty interesting group, a very unique group in support of this, and I think we can get a similar coalition in the House,” Feingold said. “The key is going to be getting the leadership to let us bring this up, and that’s going to be a battle.”
The Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act would enable any president to single out earmarks or other non-entitlement spending in legislation that arrives on his desk for signature. The president could then send these specific items back to Congress for expedited votes on whether to cancel or reduce funding for the provision.