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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989 - August

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Proposed Line-Item Veto Legislation


The President today endorsed legislation providing legislative line-item veto authority which would enable the President to rescind appropriations deemed to be wasteful or unnecessary. This legislation will provide needed reforms in the budget procedure known as rescission. Present law allows for cancellation of an appropriation only through the rescission process. Congress, however, can thwart a Presidential proposal for rescission simply by inaction. In fact, the vast majority of rescission proposals submitted by three Presidents since passage of the present law in 1974 were never acted upon.

The legislation the President has endorsed was developed by leading proponents of previous bills and would reform the rescission process by requiring that Congress take affirmative action to disapprove any rescission. The legislation would provide two periods during which the President could propose rescissions. First, after the signing of individual appropriations bills, the President would have 20 days to propose rescissions. The rescissions would go into effect after a specified period, up to 35 days in length, unless Congress passes, and there is enacted into law, a bill disapproving the rescissions.

Second, the President could also forward rescissions at the time of his budget submission to Congress each fiscal year. Again, the rescissions would go into effect unless a law is enacted disapproving the rescissions. The legislation also provides expedited congressional procedures to speed consideration of the President's rescission proposals.

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