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CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web Summary Congressional Overrides of Presidential Vetoes

By Mitchel A. Sollenberger


The President’s veto authority is among his most significant tools in legislative dealings with Congress. It is effective not only in preventing the passage of legislation undesirable to the President, but also as a threat, sometimes forcing Congress to modify legislation before it is presented to the President. Students of executive-legislative relations suggest that Congress’s strength rests with passing statutes and the President’s in vetoing them. Illustrative of this point is the fact that Presidents have vetoed 1,484 bills and Congress has overridden only 106 of them. President William Clinton vetoed 37 bills. Congress overrode two of these vetoes; one was pocket vetoed. President George W. Bush has not yet vetoed a bill. As a veto threat is carried out, Congress is faced with choices: letting the veto stand, achieving the difficult task of overriding the veto, meeting the President’s objections and sending a new bill forward, or resubmitting the same provisions under a new bill number. 1 In the case of vetoed appropriations bills, the result can be the closure of federal agencies and the furlough of hundreds of thousands of federal employees, with the inevitable disruption of federal programs and services. See CRS Report RS21750, Th

Year: 2004
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