Line-Item Veto Sails through House

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Eager to add its stamp of approval, the House of Representatives today approved the line-item veto by a 232-177 margin, less than 24 hours after Senate passage. President Clinton, who had line-item veto authority as governor of Arkansas, has indicated he will sign it. Members of both parties supported the measure, which will take effect on January 1, 1997. The legislation allows the President to veto specific spending measures contained in larger spending bills. After signing an appropriations measure, the President has five days to prepare a list of specific line-items to veto. The Congress could then vote again on the slate of selected line-items. Senator Robert Byrd led the Senate opposition, saying it ceded legislative authority to the executive branch, and predicted that the Supreme Court would rule the law unconstitutional. Approval of a line-item veto was one of the Repulicans' cherished provisions in their Contract With America, and many U.S. presidents have asked for line-item veto authority in recent decades. "This bill is going to make it harder for local interests - pork - to make it into law," says TIME's Karen Tumulty. "It will not, however, have a huge impact on the size of the deficit or produce a balanced budget. Its a gimmick which Congress is using to show they can act decisively."