Despite an appeal from President Reagan, the Senate today refused to stop a filibuster blocking a bill that would give him veto power to eliminate specific items from federal spending legislation.
The 57-42 tally fell three votes short of the total needed to choke off debate blocking a direct vote on the line-item veto, which opponents say is an effort to take away Congress' constitutional power of the purse.
Reagan, recuperating from cancer surgery, had stepped up his activities today with a letter to Capitol Hill urging passage of the bill.
In the letter, which was read in the chamber before the cloture vote, Reagan noted that he has "again and again" called for passage of the line-item veto, which he called a "valuable tool" in dealing with the budget.
The letter was signed "Ron."