Senators Carper, McCain, Coats and Udall Urge the Senate to Pass Line-Item Veto

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), John McCain (R-AZ), Dan Coats (R-IN) and Mark Udall (D-CO) today urged the Senate to pass legislation to give the president line-item veto authority to reduce wasteful spending, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed similar bipartisan legislation this afternoon. Senators Carper and McCain are sponsors of line-item veto legislation, S. 102, The Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act. Senators Coats and Udall are original co-sponsors to the legislation.

“I’m greatly encouraged by today’s strong, bipartisan vote in the House to move forward with legislation that ensures greater accountability for federal spending in both the executive and legislative branches of our government,” said Senator Tom Carper. “This legislation, which is almost identical to the McCain-Carper bill that has 43 cosponsors in the Senate, would provide the president and Congress with an important tool over the next four years to responsibly cut questionable spending and better ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and effectively. Senator McCain and I – along with our bill’s many cosponsors – will seek to attach our bill to must-pass legislation in the coming months. I believe we will be successful. For 20 years, I have worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as with the administrations of four presidents to push for enhanced rescission powers, also known as the statutory line-item veto. With federal deficits as large as the ones we continue to face, we need to change the way we do business in Washington. We need to be willing to take an idea that has worked in many states, modify it and see if it might work in our nation’s capitol, too. At the very least, this bill – if enacted – will better ensure that the Executive Branch and the Congress are held more accountable over the next four years than we’ve been held in the past.”

“With a $15 trillion national debt and record-low approval ratings of Washington, I can’t think of a better time to show some fiscal restraint and help end wasteful pork-barrel spending,” said Senator John McCain. “Our legislation, supported by a broad bipartisan group of 43 senators, provides the president with a critical tool to better ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and effectively and help hold the president and Congress accountable if it is not. Having spearheaded this issue for more than two decades, I believe that today we are close to getting it done. I am pleased that the president, who voted against the line-item veto when he was in the Senate, now recognizes its importance. With the House passing a version very similar to ours today by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, the ball is now in the Senate’s court. Senator Carper and I will be working together to offer our legislation as an amendment as soon as possible.”

“I commend the House of Representatives for taking another step toward establishing a more fiscally responsible government by passing a constitutional line-item veto measure,” Senator Dan Coats said. “While a line-item veto alone will not solve our problems, it is an important tool to help rebuild America’s fiscal house. I urge Senate leadership to allow a vote on our legislation so we can eliminate wasteful spending and make Washington more accountable with taxpayer dollars.”

“Every family has someone with the power of line-item veto on the family budget – in mine it was my mother; in America, the president should have that same authority to help cut unnecessary spending and waste from the federal budget,” Senator Mark Udall said. “Since my days in the House, I’ve advocated for reforms to cut excessive government spending, including fighting to end earmarks and to create a committee to cut wasteful government programs. A presidential line-item veto is another practical mechanism to add to Congress’s toolkit as we responsibly manage taxpayers’ dollars.”