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Treasury Sec. Mnuchin said Congress should give Trump a line-item veto — but that’s unconstitutional
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and President Donald Trump have called for Congress to reinstate the line-item veto, despite a Supreme Court decision that ruled it was unconstitutional. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)

Treasury Sec. Mnuchin said Congress should give Trump a line-item veto — but that’s unconstitutional

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday” on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he would like to see Congress give President Donald Trump a line-item veto as a way to deal with future spending bills. Mnuchin seemed to be unaware that the line-item veto had been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Mnuchin’s demand for a line-item veto was in line with Trump’s own. On Friday, during a hastily called White House news conference where he announced that he was signing the omnibus bill into law despite threatening to veto it earlier in the day, Trump said, “To prevent the omnibus situation from ever happening again, I’m calling on Congress to give me a line-item veto for a government spending bills.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1998 in Clinton v. City of New York that the Line Item Veto Act was unconstitutional. The case was brought by the New York City government after former President Bill Clinton vetoed provisions in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 that would have directly benefited the city.

During the interview, Mnuchin complained about the omnibus bill’s “massive increase in nonmilitary spending,” which would “balloon the deficit.” Fox News host Chris Wallace pointed out that this same situation would happen when the next spending bill came to the president in October.

“I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong,” Wallace said, “but that’s reality.”

“Well, it doesn’t need to be reality,” Mnuchin responded. “And I’m not gonna comment on what the president will do. But as you heard him say, he’s not planning on doing this again. I think, I think they should give the president a line-item veto. These things should be looked at.”

“But that’s been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, sir,” Wallace pointed out.

Mnuchin seemed undeterred.

“Well, again, Congress could pass a rule, OK?" he asked. "That allows them to do it, but –”

“No, no, sir.” Wallace interrupted. “It would be a constitutional amendment."

“Chris, we don’t need to get into a debate in terms of — there’s different ways of doing this," Mnuchin said. "My comment is, it’s clear what happened. The Democrats, in order to get us military spending, demanded a massive increase in nonmilitary spending. And the president made the decision this time that that was worth it.”

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