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The purpose of this publication is to provide a comprehensive listing of the presidential vetoes of legislation enacted by the Congress from the First through the Ninety-fourth Congresses, 1789-1976. It is also intended as an aid in the study of the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of the United States government and of its system of checks and balances. The veto power is established by the Constitution of the United States of America: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law. Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill. (Article I, Section 7, clauses 2 and 3) For the purposes of this publication, the term "regular veto" is used to indicate the action of the President when he disapproves a bill or joint resolution and returns it with his objections to the House in which it originated. A “pocket veto” is the designation applied to a bill or joint resolution that failed without the President's signature to become law at the expiration of ten days because the Congress adjourned during that period in a manner to prevent its return. During the Nixon and Ford administrations, a controversy arose concerning the interpretation of the constitutional provision for the pocket veto. The issue was whether or not an intrasession recess "prevented the return” of legislation to the Congress by the President and thus constituted the opportunity for a pocket veto. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia decided that it did not. (364 F. Supp. 1075 (D.D.C. 1973), 511 F. 2d 430, 422 (D.C. Cir. 1974)). As a result, the bills in question during these administrations are treated in this booklet as regular vetoes subject to being overridden, and not as pocket vetoes. Further details of this issue can be found in the notes to veto numbers 2262, 2293, and 2295 and in "Pocket Veto Controversy and Court Rule” (Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress, 2d edition, 1976, p. 630). A comprehensive study of the presidential veto power, including its historical background, is contained in a committee print issued by the House Committee on the Judiciary in 1951, “The Veto Power of the President," by Charles J. Zinn. Other useful sources include: "The Veto Power," by Edward C. Mason, published in Harvard Historical Monograph No. 1, 1890; and Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress, 2d edition, 1976. The primary sources for this compilation were the House and Senate Journals for the period from the 1st Congress (1789) through the 42d Congress (1873); and the Congressional Record for the period from the 43d Congress (1873) through the 94th Congress (1976). These sources were chosen both for their reliability and for their availability as reference materials. Two other valuable reference sources also utilized were Veto Messages of the Presidents of the United States” (Senate Miscellaneous Document No. 53, 49th Congress, 2d session) and “Report on Pocket Veto” (House Document No. 493, 70th Congress, 2d session). Because the permanent edition of the Congressional Record for the years 1974-1976 had not been published at the time of printing, this booklet cites the pages of the daily editions for those years. It should be noted that the numbering of the pages of the daily edition differs from that of the permanent edition. As an additional aid for the period 1974-1976, references are also cited to the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. This publication has been issued in several earlier editions, the first of which appeared in 1935. The 1978 edition represents a revision and updating of the most recent edition which was published in 1969, and supersedes all previous editions. Every veto was thoroughly researched to assure accuracy; they are arranged chronologically by the administrations in which the vetoes occurred and by Congresses within the administration. Changes in the format of the information were made in an effort to improve both the clarity and the consistency of the data. Each veto has been assigned an identifying number to facilitate locating any desired veto. References in the index, which has been completely revised, are to these identification numbers. Finally a numerical summary of the bills vetoed by each President is presented in Table 1 on page ix: This tabulation includes the number of regular vetoes and pocket vetoes of all measures sent to the President for signature during each administration; it also presents the number of vetoes overridden. The current revision of Presidential Vetoes was prepared by members of the United States Senate Library under the direction of Roger K. Haley, Librarian. Particular acknowledgement should be made of the efforts of Carmen Carpenter, Gregory Dole, Donnee Gray and Patrick Ortiz in compiling and verifying the information.


Secretary of the Senate

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