we think it is a good one. And we have made some good progress
in the last couple of weeks sticking together as a body and making
our point in no, unmistakable, terms. That is the way you eventu-
ally get things done around here.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote "no" on this rule until
we get a better one that gives us the opportunity to do what the
American people really want.
Mr. DERRICK. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Let me just say that the leader on the line-item veto in this body
for years and years and years, Mr. Stenholm, is the coauthor of
this bill that we have before us. He considers it legitimate, and so
does most of the rest of the House.
Mr. SOLOMON. Would my friend yield?
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Spealcer, I yield for the purpose of debate
only 90 seconds to the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Deal].
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. DERRICK. You have your own time. You can use it.
Mr. SOLOMON. The gentleman won't yield?
Mr. DERRICK. You have your own time. You can use it.
Mr. SOLOMON. Just trying to be polite to my friend. If you don't
want to be polite, fine.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. DURBIN). Regular order.
The gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Deal] is recognized for 90 sec-
Mr. DEAL. Mr. Speaker, there are times when historic events en-
gulf us, moments in time when the significance of them are mag-
nified by our reflection upon them. I suggest to you that today is
such a time.
It is the first, and perhaps the last, time that we will have the
opportunity to vote on the line-item veto. I urge you to vote for the
rule so that the merits of both the Democratic proposal and the Re-
publican proposals may be considered. Do not be deceived. This is
the vote on the line-item veto.
If you vote against the rule and block its consideration, you will
never have the opportunity to properly explain it away.
No, it is not a constitutional amendment. But are you willing to
wait for the years that it will take to ratify a constitutional amend-
No, it is not all that some of us would like to have, but it is the
first significant step toward fiscal responsibility that has been laid
It is time to put principle ahead of party. It is time to vote on
measures based on their merits rather than where they fit into
somebody's political agenda.
The public is tired of political posturing. I urge you to vote for
the rule and to vote for the line-item veto.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may
The reason I wanted my good friend, the gentleman from South
Carolina [Mr. Derrick] to yield, was that I wanted to read the gen-
tleman's statement on April 1 in the RECORD of Mr. Stenholm,
who absolutely opposed the line-item veto. Mr. Stenholm says:
"I will oppose that. I have always opposed the pure line-item
veto. I do not believe in giving any President one-third plus one
veto authority on the works of the Congress. I think it unbalances
the balancing power."
The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Stenholm] will be on this floor
later. He will tell you that he opposes the line-item veto.
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield for a mo-
Mr. SOLOMON. Out of courtesy, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman
would not yield to me, but I am glad to yield to the gentleman.
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, I think the gentleman is going to
enjoy hearing what I have to say. I misspoke. The gentleman is
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman so much.
I have always said, the gentleman is a gentleman.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the other gentleman from
Pennsylvania [Mr. Clinger].
Mr. CLINGER. Mr. Speaker, I join with the minority leader in
rising in strong opposition to this rule. It is more than a little dis-
appointing that the very first bill to be brought to the floor from
the Government Operations Committee during the 103d Congress,
the very first bill that I will be managing as the ranking Repub-
lican of the committee, was never voted on by the committee, never
debated by the committee, never subjected to normal and appro-
priate committee procedures.
Mr. Speaker, that is not the way to do business and I am not
going to begin my tenure as the committee's ranking member by
supporting such a travesty.
Earlier this month, I testified with others before the Rules Com-
mittee expressing my very deep concerns with this distortion of the
committee process. Although the Government Operations Commit-
tee conducted one legislative hearing this year on the general issue
of enhanced rescission authority, no regular markup was held and
no opportunity was given to Members on either side of the aisle to
offer amendments to the measure under consideration, although
several of the minority members had an interest in offering amend-
So what we have, Mr. Speaker, is a gag. It is not going to permit
amendments to be brought forward, and given the procedure and
the fact there has been a lot of criticism of the vehicle we are going
to vote on, and the Wall Street Journal article has been alluded to,
let me put in just one other quote:
"Today, the House will likely debate something called 'expedited
rescission.' It is to the line item veto what chicory flavored water
is to Colombian coffee. It may look the same but one taste tells the
So given the fact that we are getting a watered-down weakened
version of a true line-item veto approach, we need to have an open
rule to allow this measure to be improved.
It is too easy for the majority party, with a Democrat in the
White House, to abuse the House rules and minority rights by by-
passing the normal committee procedures and then allowing but
very few amendments to be considered on the floor, and those
amendments in a way that stacks the deck so that the majority
version will pass basically unencumbered with any amendments of-
fered by the minority.
This practice effectively cuts off any opportunity for Members
from either side of the aisle to participate in the legislative process.
It should be the interest of all House Members that legislation like
this be fully considered by the appropriate committees before it
reaches consideration on the House floor.
Because it was not, and because we have not been given the op-
portunity to fully offer amendments, I urge the rejection of this
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, I )deld myself such time as I may
Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to point out,
since the Wall Street Journal editorial has been referred to several
times, that the bill this editorial is about was abandoned last year.
I would suggest to those who wrote it that they ought to keep up
Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield 2 minutes to the
gentleman from Arizona [Mr. Coppersmith].
Mr. COPPERSMITH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from
South Carolina for yielding this time to me.
I urge all Members, both Democrats and Republicans, to support
If you truly want a line-item veto, this is the vote. This rule al-
lows us to debate and vote on the two major line-item veto propos-
als, the Castle-Solomon one-third plus one, as well as the Spratt-
Stenholm 50 percent plus one.
Do not be fooled by the rhetoric today. This vote will show who
really wants a line-item veto and who just wants a line-item veto
If you believe in the one-third plus one approach, as I do, this
rule is our chance. If this rule is rejected, we will have lost the
chance to enact the line-item veto.
The National Taxpayers Union is not fooled, and that is why the
NTU has made this vote on the rule a key vote, showing who is
a friend of the taxpayer and who is just not serious.
You have to pass the rule to decide whether to order coffee or
Finally, let me make a special plea to my freshmen Republican
colleagues by quoting some of their own words. On April 1 in the
well of this House, my colleague from Ramsey, MN, said:
"And it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are keeping
the President from getting the line-item veto he wants."
Well, please do not allow the Republican leadership to stop the
President from getting the line-item veto.
My distinguished friend from Shaker Heights, OH, said:
"Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed with my colleagues. I hope
that maybe they will come around and realize that it is not the
Democrat leadership that they belong to. They belong to the people
of the United States of America who elected them, believing that
maybe reform would happen with their help."
Well, the issue is simple. If you want the line-item veto, you
must vote "y^s" on the rule.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman
from Florida [Mr. Goss], a member of the Committee on Rules.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished ranking mem-
ber, the gentleman from New York, for yielding me this time.
Today, some Democrat colleagues are going to tell the world that
they have changed their minds and they are now ready to pass a
line-item veto — something they have fought vehemently for years.
Wrong. This bill before us today is not a true line-item veto nor
does it even come close. What we have before us today is something
called expedited rescission, not enhanced, not expanded, but expe-
dited. It does not put the brakes on runaway spending — it does not
add much to accountability. It is speeded up status quo, dressed up
to pretend it is a line-item veto.
Imagine a 100-foot high building on fire with a man on the roof
crying for help. The Democrat bill would be a flyover above this
100-foot highrise with words coming out of the helicopter sajdng,
"Don't worry — we'll save you with o'ur certified rescue package."
The problem is, the rescue package they ofier is a 30-foot-long rope
and will leave that man hanging 70 feet off" the ground while the
building bums around him. That 30-foot rope is a far cry from
what is needed to save our burning economy.
If the Democrat leadership were really serious about a true line-
item veto — like the legislative line-item veto offered by Mr. Castle
and Mr. SOLOMON — they would have attached it to the debt limit
extension that was rammed through this House in the wee hours
just before the Easter recess, as you will recall. That debt limit bill
has already become law — and with it the line-item veto could have
already been law, too. But as they have been doing a lot lately, the
Democrat leadership in the Rules Committee said "no," not just to
the minority, but to their own Democrat freshmen as well, who saw
the debt limit bill as the surest way to ensure real budget process
reform, and they refused their amendment then. But that is past
Here we are today with yet another restrictive rule — in fact the
10th out of 10 so far this Congress — debating the merits of that 30-
foot rope. As a former mayor and county chairman responsible for
balancing budgets I can say to this bill: "I know the line-item veto;
I've worked with a line-item veto — and you're no line-item veto!"
Under this rule we have one amendment offered by the freshmen
Republicans and Mr. SOLOMON to add some teeth to this measure
and I urge my colleagues to support it. But what happened to the
proposal by the Democrat freshmen? And the proposals to make
budget reform permanent instead of a 2-year experiment? And the
one offered by our minority leader designed to stop special interest
tax breaks? All these were effectively shut out by the Democrat
majority on the Rules Committee — the same majority that will
have the power under this bill to simply waive the rules and make
its provisions useless, as has happened before.
If we go through the motions here today and adopt this expedited
rescission bill, I expect the status quo Democrat majority to declare
the issue of the line-item veto resolved. In fact, I read in this
week's CQ that the primary reason this issue is being brought up
at all is because the Democrats want to get it off the table and put
it under the rug, it seems. But the debt will continue to go up and
the waste will continue — and we may have lost our chance to turn
Please, do not be fooled. This is not line-item veto — this is not
son of line-item veto — this is not even a distant cousin of line-item
veto. Do not accept this stand-in for reform. Stand up and fight for
the real thing. Vote "no" on this rule.
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield
3 minutes to the gentleman from New Mexico [Mr. RiCHARDSONl.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the
rule. Why is this important? First, Mr. Speaker, the President of
the United States should be given the ability to cut out pork and
what is questionable in the budget. Number 2, the American people
want the line item veto. We have tried Gramm-Rudman, we have
tried the constitutional amendments to balance the budget, we
have tried budget summits, and nothing has worked.
Mr. Speaker, the President has for the first time the first serious
budget reduction package before us. He wants a line-item veto. He
is serious about it.
Constitutionally, Mr. Speaker, this, in my judgment, is sound.
The legislative branch is protected. It is a 2-year experiment.
Second, the House, the Senate, the Congress, can override the re-
scission package. The ability for the Congress to promote a new re-
scission package is there.
Mr. Speaker, the most important reason why we should support
this rule, and a lot of Members have different views on line item
veto because of their concern for the legislative branch losing some
of its power, is that we allow this debate to take place. If this rule
is defeated, we cannot, and I repeat, we cannot, vote on one of the
President's main initiatives as a President.
I served as the chair of the drafting committee of the platform.
President Clinton as a candidate, as a Grovernor, has supported the
line-item veto, and we are ready to look at it for 2 years. Maybe
in 2 years, constitutionally, structurally, there will be questions.
We can revisit it again.
But I say for the credibility of this body, of the Government, of
the executive legislative relationship, let's give the President this
authority to cut out questionable spending. Most States have this
authority. Most Governors do.
Mr. Speaker, I think this is going to result in fiscal discipline.
It is going to result in a better relationship between the two
branches, and I think we owe it to the fact that the American peo-
ple want change, and they want us to vote for different approaches
to the deficit. The President proposed this in his package, an essen-
tial element of his package is this modified line item veto, and I
urge support of the rule.
As a nation, we face many difficult problems and, due to the Fed-
eral deficit, we are unable to respond as we should. Whether the
issue is health care, education or job creation, we are hamstrung
and simply lack the resources to act in a forceful and responsible
manner. Stated plainly, we must cut the deficit in order to function
as an effective Government.
We must make tough choices in order to cut spending and put
our economic house in order. Unfortunately, we have proven, year
in and year out, that we lack the discipline to make those choices
and, therefore, I believe that we need to create structures that will
give us the confidence and ability to cut when necessary. For that
reason I support H.R. 1578, the Expedited Rescissions Act and, in
the past, supported the Gramm-Rudman Deficit Reduction Act and
the 1990 budget agreement.
The enhanced rescissions Act is simple, it gives the President a
greater ability to pinpoint cuts he wants to make. The bill is craft-
ed carefully and fully protects the jurisdiction of the legislative
branch by providing for a simple majority override of the Presi-
dent's cuts. It then enables the Congress to draft an alternative re-
scission package. This plan is responsible and, at the same time,
brings us much closer to sound fiscal management.
Mr. Speaker, I strongly support this bill but realize that others
may not. Nonetheless, I strongly ask for their support on the rule.
Poll after poll show that the American people want tougher fiscal
controls and doubt that we have the- ability to make the difficult
economic choices. President Clinton has asked for enhanced rescis-
sion and I think that we must put the issue to a vote. I will vote
for H.R. 1578 but understand that others will vote against it. What
we must do today is give it a fair hearing. Only by passing the rule
and debating the bill on the floor can that happen.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support the rule. I yield
back the balance of my time and thank my friend from South Caro-
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman
from Alabama [Mr. Everett], a very distinguished freshman Mem-
ber from Midland City.
Mr. EVERETT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New
York [Mr. SOLOMON], my friend, for yielding this time to me. He
represents New York by way of Echo, AL.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today again in opposition to this rule and
again to call on Republican and Democratic freshmen to put aside
partisanship and vote against this rule.
This is not a line-item veto. It is, as the Wall Street Journal com-
mented in today's editorial, a line-item voodoo.
Many Members, new and old alike, promised the American peo-
ple they would give the President a line-item veto. Candidate Bill
Clinton campaigned for the line-item veto. Yet, surprise, after the
election, Mr. Speaker, nobody seems really interested in a true
Mr. Speaker, what is being offered instead is a poor substitute
that is designed to fool the public and do nothing to curb the appe-
tite of this Congress from spending. As the Wall Street Journal
says, it is to a line-item veto what chicory flavored water is to Co-
lombian coffee. It might look the same, but one taste tells the tale.
What the President would have to do is sign an entire spending
package and attach a list of spending items he agreed with and
then ask the Congress to eliminate them. Where is the line-item
veto? He will not even be allowed to reduce an existing program
below the previous budget. Where is the line-item veto? Mr. Speak-
er, where is the beef?
The people in my district elected as their Representative some-
one who had never been involved in politics. They did that because
they lost faith, unfortunately, in the Congress. They did that be-
cause they were angry at politicians telling them one thing and
doing something else.
This rule represents that kind of thinking, my colleagues, and I
would add that the American people will not be fooled by it.
Vote this rule down, and let us bring a true line-item veto to the
I will tell my colleagues what time it is, Mr. Speaker. It is time
to tell the American people the truth.
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield
1 minute to the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Traficant].
Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Speaker, this is not a vote today on a line-
item veto. This is a vote today to expand the power of the Presi-
The Constitution is clear. Congress spends. Congress cuts. The
problems in America will not be solved by giving the President a
red felt tip pen.
My colleagues. Congress is afraid of its shadow. Congress will
not cut. Congress is afraid, and, if we take the power and give it
to the President, where does that power come from, if not from the
Aiid let me say this: One man's trash is another man's treasure.
I was not for expanding the power of the Presidency under a Re-
publican administration, and I am not going to be a hypocrite. I am
not for taking power from the people, investing it in the White
House in a Democrat administration.
Mr. Speaker, the President is not going to solve our budget di-
lemma. It should be Congress, and I do not want to see Congress
wimp out and sell the Constitution out to do it.
I appreciate having been yielded this time, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distin-
guished gentleman from Indiana [Mr. Burton].
Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about two
things. First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about closed rules.
The American people do not understand how this place works, so
it is time for us to explain that.
I say to my colleagues, 'When you have a closed rule, you cannot
debate the issue fully, and the Democrat Rules Committee has con-
tinually this session of Congress sent closed rules to the floor."
We are not going to be able to vote today on a line item veto be-
cause of the way this rule is structured. We are going to do it on
their terms. They are trying to ram through everything President
Clinton wants without full debate and disclosure.
Mr. Speaker, of all the rules we have had on the House floor,
none have been open. In the past, 82 percent of the rules have been
open. During this session, zippo, none, and that is why we have
Lady Liberty gagged and hope the American people understand
In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, we have had 10 rules this ses-
sion, and, out of the 10 rules, all have been closed, 100 percent,
and that means that all the people that we represent, 600,000 peo-
ple apiece, do not have a voice in this Congress because the Com-
mittee on Rules continues to gag them and will not allow them to
Finally, Mr. Speaker, the Speaker of this body, the gentleman
from Washington [Mr. Foley], said he expects open rules within a
matter of a very few days on major legislation. If a line-item veto
is not major legislation, then what is it? And he said this on Mon-
day, and they are sending a closed rule down here.
The fact of the matter is the people are not getting the straight
story from the Democrat Party. They want to ram through $402
billion in new taxes, another $145 or $150 billion for Hillary
Rodham Clinton's health care program, and they are calling that
democracy. Baloney. It is just plain baloney.
What we want is open rules. We want a straight up or down vote
on a real line-item veto, not this enhanced rescission.
My colleagues know what it is. It is baloney, and the Americain
people ought to know it is baloney. We want a vote on a straight
line-item veto, and I hope the Committee on Rules one day will be
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, for the purposes of debate only, I
yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Washington [Mr. INSLEEJ.
Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in favor of this rule and urge
my colleagues to support it. I do this for two reasons. I have a per-
spective that is perhaps unique in this debate. I am one of the
Democratic freshmen who supported an amendment that will not
be considered under this rule. But for two reasons, I believe it is
imperative that we pass this rule.
The first is that it should be very clear that killing this rule kills
line-item veto in any shape or form in this year. You can shape it,
you can shade it, you can color it, but a "no" vote is a vote to kill
any shape of the line-item veto this year.
Those who believe that it is more important for the future of this
country to make some political point about rules than to adopt a
tool that can cut our deficit do not share my belief that the fun-
damental and No. 1 problem in our country is that deficit.
This bill will not give the Executive untoward power. It will sim-
ply allow the President to shine a spotlight on a spending proposal.
Mr. Speaker, I further believe in one principle that is engraved
in this rostrum, and that principle is union. There are those who
do not share my belief in the wisdom of this bill at all. To them
I say that I urge them to vote in favor of this rule for principles
of union. We must at times subjugate our personal beliefs and our
personal wishes to union.
Mr. Speaker, I urge the Members to vote in favor of this rule.
Mr. DERRICK. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield
3 minutes to the gentleman from Oklahoma [Mr. Synar].
Mr. SYNAR. Mr. Speaker, the proposition before us today is very
simple. Do we want to act like Members of Congress and continue
to exercise the constitutional authority granted to us by our Found-
ing Fathers, or do we want to turn our backs on responsibility and
support an ill-conceived public relations gimmick. Why do I say
this? H.R. 1578 is another in a long line of budget gimmicks that
won't work, is not needed, is of questionable constitutional value,