President Clinton’s Vetoes

Order Code 98-147 Updated April 7, 2004 CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web President Clinton’s Vetoes Mitchel A. Sollenberger Analyst in American National Government Government and Finance Division Summary President William Jefferson Clinton vetoed 17 bills during his first term in office (1993-1996) and 20 bills during his second term. All but one of President Clinton’s 37 vetoes were regular or return vetoes; one was pocket vetoed. Congress attempted to override 13 of President Clinton’s vetoes; two were overridden. Introduction When presented with legislation passed by both houses of Congress, the President may sign it into law within the 10-day period prescribed in the Constitution, let it become law without his signature, or veto it. All bills and joint resolutions, except those proposing amendments to the Constitution, must be presented to the President for his approval in order to become law. Amendments to the Constitution, which require a twothirds vote in each house, are sent directly to the states for approval. If Congress is in session when the President exercises his veto authority, the disapproved bill is returned to the house where it originated along with a presidential message explaining the reasons for its rejection. To sustain a veto, the President needs the vote of only one more than one-third of a quorum in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. If Congress has adjourned, preventing the return of a bill, the President may withhold his signature beyond the constitutionally prescribed 10-day action period and the bill neither becomes law nor is it returned to Congress for further action. This latter practice has been dubbed the “pocket veto.” Unlike the procedure applied when a vetoed bill is returned to a house in session, Congress does not have an opportunity or constitutional authority to override a pocket veto. Congressional procedure for reconsidering vetoed legislation is similar in both the House and the Senate. Congressional action on a vetoed measure begins when the President returns the bill to the house of origin along with a veto message indicating his objections. Once the vetoed legislation has been received, the originating chamber is constitutionally required “to reconsider” the vetoed bill. The Constitution is silent, however, on the definition of “reconsideration.” In lieu of constitutional direction, House Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress CRS-2 and Senate procedures and tradition govern the treatment of vetoed bills returned by the President. Upon receiving a vetoed bill, the President’s message is read into the journal of the house to which it was directed and the constitutional requirement “to reconsider” is realized by laying the measure on the table, referring the bill back to committee, postponing consideration to a certain day, or immediately voting on override. Congressional procedures, tradition, and judicial ruling (Missouri Pacific Ry. Co. v. Kansas, 248 U.S. 276 (1919)) have determined that the vote required to pass a bill over a veto means two-thirds of a quorum. If both chambers satisfy the two-thirds requirement, the bill becomes law over the President’s objections. If either house does not vote on reconsideration, or fails to produce a two-thirds majority to override, the veto is sustained. When one house fails to override, the other house need not attempt to override, even if the votes are available to succeed. Table 1. President Clinton’s Vetoes Bill Number Date of Veto H.R. 1158 06/07/95 Second Supplemental Appropriations and Rescissions Act for FY1995 No attempt. S. 21 08/11/95 Bosnia and Herzegovina Self-Defense Act of 1995 No attempt. H.R. 1854 10/03/95 Legislative Branch Appropriations for FY1996 No attempt. H.R. 2586 11/13/95 Increase in the Statutory Debt Limit No attempt. H.J.Res. 115 11/14/95 Second Continuing Resolution for FY1996 No attempt. H.R. 2491 12/06/95 Budget Reconciliation No attempt. H.R. 1977 12/18/95 Interior Appropriations for FY1996 House sustained 01/04/96 by 239-177. H.R. 2099 12/18/95 Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations for FY1996 No attempt. H.R. 2076 12/19/95 Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations for FY1995 House sustained 01/03/96 by 240-159. Title Override Attempt CRS-3 Bill Number Date of Veto Title H.R. 1058 12/19/95 Securities Litigation Reform Act House overrode 12/20/95 by 319-100, Senate overrode 12/22/95 by 6830. P.L. 104-67. H.R. 1530 12/28/95 Defense Authorizations for FY1996 House sustained 01/03/96 by 240-156. H.R. 4 01/09/96 Welfare Reform Act No attempt. H.R. 1833 04/10/96 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 1995 House overrode 09/19/96 by 285-137. Senate sustained 09/26/96 by 5741. H.R. 1561 04/12/96 American Overseas Interest Act of 1996 House sustained 04/30/96 by 234-188. H.R. 956 05/02/96 Common Sense Product Liability Legal Reform Act of 1996 House sustained 05/09/96 by 258-163. H.R. 743 06/30/96 Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1996 No attempt. H.R. 2909 10/02/96 Amends Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Act No attempt. H.R. 1469 06/09/97 Flood Relief Bill No attempt. H.R. 1122 10/10/97 Partial Birth Abortion House overrode 07/23/98 by 296-132. Senate sustained 09/18/98 by 6436. H.R. 2631 11/13/97 Disapproving Cancellations House overrode 02/05/98 by 347-69. Senate overrode 02/25/98 by 7820. P.L. 105159. S. 1502 05/20/98 D.C. Student Vouchers No attempt. H.R. 2709 06/23/98 Iran Sanctions Bill No attempt Override Attempt CRS-4 Bill Number Date of Veto Title Override Attempt H.R. 2646 07/21/98 Education Savings Account No attempt. H.R. 4101 10/07/98 FY1999 Agriculture Appropriations No attempt. H.R. 1757 10/21/98 Foreign Affairs Reform No attempt. H.R. 2488 09/23/99 Tax Relief Bill No attempt. H.R. 2587 09/28/99 D.C. Appropriations, FY2000 No attempt. H.R. 2606 10/18/99 Foreign Operations Spending, FY2000 No attempt. H.R. 2670 10/26/99 Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations, FY2000 No attempt. H.R. 3064 11/03/99 District of Columbia Appropriations, FY2000 and Education, Labor, and HHS Appropriations, FY2000 No attempt. S. 1287 04/25/00 Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2000 Senate sustained 05/03/00 by 6435. H.R. 4810 08/05/00 Marriage Tax Relief Bill House sustained 09/13/00 by 270-158. H.R. 8 08/31/00 Estate Tax Elimination Act House sustained 09/07/00 by 274-157 H.R. 4733 10/07/00 Energy and Water Development House overrode 10/11/00 by 315-98. Senate referred veto to committee H.R. 4516 10/30/00 Legislative Branch and Treasury Appropriations No attempt. H.R. 4392 11/04/00 Intelligence Authorization Bill No attempt. H.R. 2415 12/19/00 Consumer Bankruptcy Overhaul Act Pocket veto.