WASHINGTON (AP) - A plan to make Congress vote on spending cuts for projects or programs that President Barack Obama says are wasteful is gaining momentum in the Senate.
Fourteen Democrats and Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman have joined Republican Sen. John McCain in sponsoring legislation giving Obama the right to propose removing objectionable items from spending bills he otherwise approves of. The president could then send his package of spending cuts back to Congress for a mandatory vote to either accept or reject them.
The measure is a weaker version of the line-item veto power possessed by most governors and briefly enjoyed by former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s - before the Supreme Court ruled it was an unconstitutional infringement on Congress' power.
Obama backed a similar plan last year but it was shelved by his Democratic allies then in control of Congress.
It's the latest of several process-oriented proposals - like proposed balanced budget amendments to the Constitution and "caps" on spending - proposed by lawmakers in lieu of actually proposing spending cuts.
That'll soon change as House Republicans unveil later this week a catchall spending bill to cut $43 billion from domestic agency budgets over the remainder of the budget year ending Sept. 30. That measure, approving $1 trillion-plus in spending for the Pentagon and the annual operating budgets for every domestic agency, is scheduled to advance in the House next week.
Tuesday's proposal would give Obama the right to take to single out pet projects and other dubious programs in spending bills that he's already been signed into law. He could then send Congress a package of spending cuts for a mandatory up-or-down vote on whether to accept or reject them.
The legislation is a weaker version of the line-item veto power possessed by most governors and briefly enjoyed by former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s before it was declared unconstitutional. Clinton used the power modestly but some of his vetoes were still overturned under GOP control.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)