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Attempting to paint former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a "Big City Big Spender," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney claims Giuliani filed a lawsuit that killed the line item veto. That's true. In October 1997, Giuliani joined two labor unions and the Greater New York Hospital Association in challenging the line item veto in federal court after President Clinton nixed a provision of a budget bill that would have provided the city with as much as $2.6 billion in Medicaid funds. The Snake River Potato Growers in Idaho also challenged the law over a tax benefit that Clinton also line item vetoed.
Giuliani and the others filing the suit argued—as opponents of the veto had for many years—that the Constitution required the president to either sign, veto or allow a bill to become law without his signature. The Constitution, they said, did not allow him to veto parts of a bill.
The Supreme Court agreed and in June 1998, ruled that the line item veto was unconstitutional. Giuliani argues that he favors the line item veto and believes the Constitution should be amended to allow it, but he said the power cannot be created by passing a simple law.
Romney is correct that Giuliani is guilty of having filed the lawsuit that killed the line item veto. But Romney neglects to say that Giuliani had several accomplices along with him.
Archives of the Mayor's Press Office, Rudy Giuliani press release announcing lawsuit, Oct. 16, 1997.
Archives of the Mayor's Press Office, Rudy Giuliani press release celebrating victory, July 6, 1998.
Clinton v. City of New York, No. 97-1374
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