Mnuchin touts Trump's call for unconstitutional line-item veto

WASHINGTON ― Congress should somehow reinstate the line-item veto even though it was ruled unconstitutional two decades ago, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Sunday without offering any ideas of how the legal objections could be overcome.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mnuchin defended President Donald Trump’s decision to sign the $1.3 trillion omnibus government spending bill despite opposing much of it. After approving that bill on Friday, Trump called for line-item veto that would allow him to reject specific provisions of a bill without vetoing the entire thing.

After Mnuchin reiterated that position, host Chris Wallace noted that after Congress passed such a measure in the mid-1990s, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.

“Congress could pass a rule, OK, that allows” for the line-item veto, Mnuchin said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Trump's nominee for Treasury secretary, testifies during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 19, 2017.

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Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin sits with Vanessa Trump (R), wife of Donald Trump Jr, before a swearing-in ceremony for senior staff at the White House in Washington, DC January 22, 2017.

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Incoming Trump administration Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin departs after working a simulated crisis scenario during transition meetings at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2017.

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Producer Steve Bing (L) and Honoree Steven Mnuchin recipient of the Philanthropic Leadership Award attend The Kaleidoscope Ball - Designing The Future benefitting the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA at Beverly Hills Hotel on April 17, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, right, attends a swearing in ceremony of White House senior staff in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a hallmark of our democracy.

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 Steve Mnuchin and Lousie Linton arrive at the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Jupiter Ascending' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 2, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

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Heather Mnuchin and Steve Mnuchin attend The Art Show Gala to Benefit The Henry Street Settlement at The Seventh Regiment Armory on February 23, 2005 in New York City.

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Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin attends the inaugural parade of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, January 20, 2017. Donald Trump was sworn in earlier as the 45th President of the United States.

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Donald Trumps' Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

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Wallace informed him it would actually require a constitutional amendment ― a far heavier lift.

“We don’t need to get into a debate ... there’s different ways of doing this,” Mnuchin said, declining to name any of them.

He then returned to bashing Democrats for many of the spending increases for domestic programs in the bill Trump signed ― the provisions that sparked a torrent of criticism from conservative lawmakers and commentators. They expressed deep disappointment that Trump didn’t veto the entire bill, which would have caused a givernment shutdownl.

It’s unlikely that Congress will attempt to resurrect the line-item veto, which was adopted under former President Bill Clinton and used to strike provisions of certain legislation. A federal judge ruled in 1998 that it violated procedural requirements in the Constitution and upset the balance of powers. The Supreme Court upheld that ruling the same year.

Since then, former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have called for Congress to reinstate the authority. Neither was successful.

Trump said on Friday that he would never again sign a bill like the omnibus, which was approved by a Congress led by his own party in both chambers. Along with line-item veto power, Trump said that the Senate should do away with the filibuster, which prevents most bills from moving forward without 60 votes.

Trump isn’t likely to have success on that front, either: His own party opposes changing the filibuster rule. 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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