News Releases

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Isakson Co-Sponsors Constitutional Amendment
To Give President Line-Item Veto Power
'We Must Take Immediate Steps to End Reckless Spending'

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) today announced that he is co-sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would allow the President to use the line-item veto to either eliminate or reduce appropriations in any bill passed by the Congress.

"We must take bold and immediate steps to end the reckless spending that is threatening the future of our nation," Isakson said. "This amendment will give the President much-needed authority to remove items from appropriations bills that are considered wasteful on a national perspective."

Isakson noted that governors in 43 states including Georgia have line-item veto authority.

Congress passed a line-item veto bill in 1996, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. The 1996 bill allowed the president to cancel, but not reduce, spending items in budget bills. The legislation Isakson is co-sponsoring would give the President more flexibility by allowing him to cancel or reduce any appropriation passed by Congress.  

"One of the problems we have in America with deficit spending is spending money on projects that by anybody's definition are unnecessary project," Isakson said. "We need to have politicians justifying what they just spent rather than promising what they will spend."

Isakson said he is committed to trying to pass legislation to curb federal spending and to demand more accountability from programs that receive federal dollars. To that end, Isakson has cosponsored several pieces of legislation in addition to the line-item veto:

  • The Government Reorganization and Program Performance Improvement Act creates a commission that will require Congress and the Executive Branch to regularly and formally examine whether Federal programs and agencies are achieving desired results for the American people.
  • The Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies Act establishes a bipartisan commission to review federal agencies and programs in an effort to eliminate federal spending on programs that are duplicative, wasteful, inefficient or outdated.
  • The Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Actwould require the president to submit a two-year budget - rather than the current one-year budget - at the beginning of the first session of a Congress. Members of Congress would then adopt a two-year budget resolution, a reconciliation bill if necessary and two-year appropriations bills during that first session. The second session of a Congress would then be devoted to the consideration of authorization bills and oversight of federal programs.