The American Government

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The American Government

The American Government

A legislative, an executive, and a judicial power comprehend the whole of what is meant and understood by government. It is by balancing each of these powers against the other two that the efforts in human nature towards tyranny can alone be checked and restrained, and any degree of freedom preserved in the constitution.

The purpose of the line item veto is to reduce, and not to redistribute government spending, the President is not allowed to cut funds to one program and then use them for another. This means that if he cuts 500 million, that 500 million is not his to spend, it is gone from the budget for the remainder of the year. The President is also not allowed to simply reduce the size of a line item, he must get rid of it all together. (Wolfson, 841)

The Presidents power of the line item veto greatly complicates all the budget talks that take place in Congress. Before the line item veto was in effect, Congress only had to worry about the OK from House and Senate members. Now they also had to incorporate the Presidents needs as well. (Fisher, 22)

In absolute terms, little can be drawn from the records of the Constitutional Convention with respect to the item veto. Certainly, the Framers intended to protect the President from legislative usurpation by empowering him with an institutional weapon to wield in the legislative process. Yet the reach of this weapon remains unclear. The Framers' non-inclusion of an explicit item veto provision, it could be argued, is indicative of their disapproval.

The advent of omnibus appropriations bills and Congress's propensity for attaching non-germane riders to legislation, however, have made a mockery of the President's ability to exercise the veto power. In the current budget process, the President is frequently coerced into signing bills that contain objectionable provisions, at the peril of risking the very operation of government. (Wolfson, 841)

Bill Clinton got the power of the line item veto on January 1, 1997, because the Republicans promised in 1994 that if they gained control of Congress, they would grant Bill his wish, and that they did. The Republicans did this because they thought that they would have a Republican President, it turns out they were wrong, Clinton was re-elected. The Republicans probably did this to try and form a monopoly if you will. If there was a Republican President, who had the power of the line item veto, and Congress was controlled by the Republicans that makes it very difficult for Democrats to get anything passed. (Krasnow, 583)

Presidential infirmity, accompanied by a failure to fully inform the public, has been stamped indelibly on our history during the past two hundred years. Fourteen of the eighteen American presidents in the twentieth century had significant illnesses while in office. (Abrams 136-49) Presidents also have faced physical threats leading to incapacity and death. Of the eight presidents who died in office, four were the victims of bullet ...
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