Line Item Veto Act

[Public Law 104–4; 110 Stat. 1200; April 9, 1996; S. 4]


The conference report included descriptions of each of the sections of the public law as well as descriptions of each of the sections set forth in the new part C.

Summary of House Amendment

The House amendment is based on the “enhanced rescission” format. It authorizes the President to rescind all or part of any discretionary budget authority or veto any targeted tax benefit if the President determines that such rescission; (1) will help reduce the federal budget deficit; (2) will not impair any essential government functions; and (3) will not harm the national interest.

The amendment requires the President to notify the Congress of such a rescission or veto by special message within 10 days (excluding Sundays) after enactment of an appropriation Act providing such budget authority or a revenue or reconciliation Act containing a targeted tax benefit.

The amendment allows the President in each special message to propose to reduce the appropriate discretionary spending limit by an amount that does not exceed the total amount of discretionary budget authority rescinded by that message. It also requires the President to submit a separate special message for each appropriation Act and for each revenue or reconciliation Act. The President may only transmit one special message for each Act.

The House amendment makes such a rescission effective unless the Congress enacts a disapproval bill. Any budget authority rescinded is no longer available for obligation and a tax benefit is not effective unless the Congress passes a disapproval bill within 20 days, and assuming a veto, overrides that veto within 5 days.

The House amendment provides special procedures for consideration of a rescission disapproval bill in each House.Upon receipt of the President’s special message, if a disapproval bill is introduced, it is referred to the appropriate committee. The specific form of a disapproval bill is noted in the House amendment, and such disapproval bill must be introduced within 3 days in order to qualify for the special procedures in the House. The Senate committee is not required to report the bill and there is no provision mandating discharge.

The House committee to which the bill is referred shall report it without amendment, and with or without recommendation, no later than the eighth calendar day of session after the date of its introduction. If the Committee fails to report the bill, it is in order to move that the House discharge the bill from committee.

After a bill is discharged from Committee, it is in order to move that the House move to consideration of the bill. All points of order against the bill and its consideration are waived and the motion is highly privileged. Motions to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to are not in order.

Consideration of the bill is limited to two hours equally divided between proponents and opponents of the bill. Amendments to the bill are not in order, except that a Member may make a motion to strike the disapproval of any rescission(s) of budget authority if such a motion is supported by at least 49 other Members. Motions to reconsider the vote on the disapproval bill are not in order. It is only in order in the House to consider one disapproval bill with respect to any specific Presidential rescission message.

If a rescission disapproval bill is considered by the Senate, debate is limited to 10 hours to be divided equally and controlled by the Majority and Minority leaders. Debate on any motions or appeals in connection with the bill are limited to one hour each, divided equally. Motions to further limit debate are not debatable. A motion to recommit is not in order unless such motion is to recommit the bill with instructions that it be reported back within one day.

Further, the House amendment mandates that it is not in order in the Senate to consider any rescission disapproval bill relating to any matter other than the items noted in the President’s special message. Amendments to a rescission disapproval bill are not in order. The provisions noted in this paragraph may only be waived by an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Senate.

The House amendment provides for annual General Accounting Office (GAO) reports on Presidential use of the line item veto authority. It also specifically prohibits the President from using the authority under the Act to change prohibitions or limitations (fencing language) in an appropriation Act.

The bill generally defines a targeted tax benefit as a provision in a revenue or reconciliation Act that provides a tax deduction, credit, exclusion, preference, or concession to 100 or fewer beneficiaries.

Finally, the bill provides a process for expedited judicial review of provisions of this Act.

U.S. House of Representatives, Line Item Veto Act: Conference Report to Accompany S. 4, (H. Rept. 104-491) March 21, 1996.

Legislative History Notes

Pub. L. 104–4, 110 Stat. 1200, April 9, 1996 (Line Item Veto Act). 




Summary of Senate Bill


Sec. 2 of the Line Item Veto Act

[BCR § 277.02]