Review: Constituent service and the 'Incumbency effect'.
Spitzer clearly opposes the idea. In supporting his case, the author develops a number of tried and true arguments that make the item veto look like a silly idea. The item veto will not work, he argues, because presidents do not support balanced budgets, because no one has yet to establish exactly what an "item" is, and because even though 43 out of 50 state governors have an item veto, the state level experience does not translate well to the national level. Of course the central issue in the item veto debate is really one of empowerment. Should the president be given this extra power? Framed in these terms, the item veto is not an idea without merit. Congress has managed to subvert the president's veto power by increasingly relying on the omnibus approach to budgeting. While it is true that Congress has attached riders to legislation since the beginning (George Washington confronted this problem), the scale of this sort of legislation has dramatically changed. In fiscal years 1985, 1986, and 1987 Congress voted massive continuing resolutions to fund government in the absence of the passage of regular appropriations bills. Most observers agree that these continuing resolutions were ill considered and, at times, irresponsible. And, yet, the president was forced to sign or close the government. An argument can be made for the proposition that now is the time to impose a national perspective (reflecting the president's national constituency) on budgeting. So important is the Federal budget to national economic performance, that an item veto may make sense in the modern context. This and other debates are stimulated by this book. While specialists may find the author's coverage superficial and his theoretical arguments underdeveloped, this book is an important contribution to the literature. Because the presidential veto is such an important component of presidential power and because this study is one of the best available on the subject, this book belongs in any complete collection of presidential studies
|Main Author:||Johannes, John.|