Senators see presidential support for ‘line-item veto’ bill

Sens. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallPoll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (D-Colo.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones Portman The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Hillicon Valley: Google to promote original reporting | Senators demand answers from Amazon on worker treatment | Lawmakers weigh response to ransomware attacks Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE (R-Ohio), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Burden in tonight's debate is on Democratic realists 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the September Democratic debate MORE (D-Colo.), Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAmerica's cyber blind spot 2020 Democrats raise alarm about China's intellectual property theft Pompeo sees status grow with Bolton exit MORE (R-Ind.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) Manchin The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (D-W.Va.) also appeared at a press event to tout the bill, which was introduced Jan. 25.

Portman and Udall said that they would like to package the effort with a bill enacting the recommendations of the president’s debt commission. That bill is being crafted by a bi-partisan group of senators.

McCain said the bill has a good chance of passage this year and Portman said it could be tied to either a vote to raise the debt ceiling or a vote to fund the government after March 4.

An actual line-item veto, with which the president can selectively strike provisions from a bill without vetoing it entirely, has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Under “enhanced rescission,” the president would be able to specify wasteful spending items he wants cut from a recently passed spending bill. His rescission package would be given a fast-tracked up-or-down vote in Congress under the new legislation.

McCain said the bill has been judged to pass muster by an overwhelming number of constitutional scholars. The bill would sunset in 2015, however, because sponsors said they are not sure how it would play out in reality and the concept should be tested first.

Past efforts at enacting enhanced rescission have failed in the face or resistance by appropriators. Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) this year for the first time agreed to temporarily ban earmarks in bills. 

McCain said that legislation is necessary because the voluntary earmakrs ban is not a victory for his cause.

"The battle is not won. It is at best a truce," he said.