Line-Item Veto One Step Closer to Law

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Congressional negotiators reached a compromise agreement Thursday on the line-item veto measure, ending a yearlong impasse. With the Republican nomination nearly wrapped up, Sen. Dole interevened to break the logjam and convince Senate negotiators to adopt the House version of the bill. "There is a great urgency on the part of Dole to get things done," says TIME's Karen Tumulty. "This is an item from the 'Contract with America' and it is very important for him to get it passed by the Senate and sent to the President." Republican Congressmen are more accepting of the measure now that President Clinton faces an election challenge in November and can sign only one more appropriation cycle until then. The bill would allow the president to veto specific spending programs approved by Congress, giving the president unprecedented power. A House-Senate conference is expected to formally adopt the bill next week. Senator Dan Coats, a proponent of the measure said the agreement "culminates seven years of blood, toil, sweat and tears." He adds that "This is a major breakthrough ending a longstanding impasse. It virtually guarantees the Congress will be able to send the president a line-item veto very soon." Senator John McCain acknowledges that the compromise might have some trouble passing through the Senate. He adds that "if it's filibustered, it won't be filibustered by Republicans, and then we'll find out if the White House clout is with the Senate." Tumulty adds that there are a number of Senators who dispute the constitutionality of giving away congressional power to the President. "It is very likely that the bill will be challenged in the courts if it becomes law." President Clinton supports the measure and is likely to sign it when and if it reaches his desk.