Presidential Vetoes 

1789 to Present

President Roosevelt Reads Veto Message/tiles/non-collection/f/fdr_vetomessage_2008_231_002.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
In 1935, FDR came to the House Chamber to deliver his veto message in person.
Article I, section 7 of the Constitution grants the President the authority to veto legislation passed by Congress. This authority is one of the most significant tools in the President can employ to prevent the passage of legislation. Even the threat of a veto can bring about changes in the content of legislation long before the bill is ever presented to the President. The Constitution provides the President 10 days (excluding Sundays) to act on legislation or the legislation automatically becomes law. There are two types of vetoes: the “regular veto” and the “pocket veto.”

The regular veto is a qualified negative veto. The President returns the unsigned legislation to the originating house of Congress within a 10 day period usually with a memorandum of disapproval or a “veto message.” Congress can override the President’s decision if it musters the necessary two–thirds vote of each house. President George Washington issued the first regular veto on April 5, 1792. The first successful congressional override occurred on March 3, 1845, when Congress overrode President John Tyler’s veto of S. 66.

The pocket veto is an absolute veto that cannot be overridden. The veto becomes effective when the President fails to sign a bill after Congress has adjourned and is unable to override the veto. The authority of the pocket veto is derived from the Constitution’s Article I, section 7, “the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case, it shall not be law.” Over time, Congress and the President have clashed over the use of the pocket veto, debating the term “adjournment.” The President has attempted to use the pocket veto during intra- and inter- session adjournments and Congress has denied this use of the veto. The Legislative Branch, backed by modern court rulings, asserts that the Executive Branch may only pocket veto legislation when Congress has adjourned sine die from a session. President James Madison was the first President to use the pocket veto in 1812.

 Congresses PresidentRegular Vetoes Pocket VetoesTotal VetoesVetoes Overriden
1st-4thGeorge Washington 2.....2.....
5th-6thJohn Adams ....................
7th-10thThomas Jefferson ....................
11th–14th James Madison 527.....
15th–18th James Monroe 1.....1.....
19th–20th John Quincy Adams....................
21st–24th Andrew Jackson 5712.....
25th–26th Martin Van Buren .....11.....
27th William Henry Harrison ....................
27th–28th John Tyler 64101
29th–30th James K. Polk 213.....
31st Zachary Taylor ....................
31st–32nd Millard Fillmore ....................
33rd–34thFranklin Pierce 9.....95
35th–36th James Buchanan 437.....
37th–39th Abraham Lincoln 257.....
39th–40th Andrew Johnson 2182915
41st–44th Ulysses S. Grant 4548934
45th–46th Rutherford B. Hayes 121131
47th James A. Garfield ....................
47th–48th Chester A. Arthur 48121
49th–50th Grover Cleveland 3041104142
51st–52nd Benjamin Harrison 1925441
53rd–54th Grover Cleveland 421281705
55th–57thWilliam McKinley 63642.....
57th–60th Theodore Roosevelt 4240821
61st–62nd William H. Taft 309391
63rd–66th Woodrow Wilson 3311446
67thWarren G. Harding 516.....
68th–70th Calvin Coolidge 2030504
71st–72nd Herbert C. Hoover 2116373
73rd–79th Franklin D. Roosevelt 3722636359
79th–82nd Harry S. Truman 1807025012
83rd–86th Dwight D. Eisenhower 731081812
87th–88th John F. Kennedy 12921.....
88th–90stLyndon B. Johnson 161430.....
91st–93rdRichard M. Nixon 2617437
93rd–94th Gerald R. Ford 48186612
95th–96th James Earl Carter 1318312
97th–100th Ronald Reagan 3939789
101st–102nd George H. W. Bush12915441
103rd–106th William J. Clinton2361372
107th–110th George W. Bush310.....103
111th–113th Barack H. Obama42.....2.....
Total           1496     10662563109

Footnotes

1President George H. W. Bush withheld his signature from two measures during intrasession recess periods (H.J. Res. 390, 101st Congress, 1st sess. and S. 1176, 102nd Congress, 1st sess.). See, “Permission to Insert in the Record Correspondence of the Speaker and the Minority Leader to the President Regarding Veto of House Joint Resolution 390, Authorizing Hand Enrollment of H.R. 1278, Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, Along With Response From the Attorney General (House of Representatives - January 23, 1990),” Congressional Record, 101st Cong., 2nd sess., (January 23, 1990): H3. See, “Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental and Native American Public Policy Act of 1992 (House of Representatives - March 03, 1992),” Congressional Record, 102nd Cong., 2nd sess., (March 3, 1992): H885-H889. The President withheld his signature from another measure during an intrasession recess period (H.R. 2699, 102nd Congress, 1st sess.) and from a measure during an intersession recess period (H.R. 2712, 101st Congress, 1st sess.) but returned both measures to the House, which proceeded to reconsider them. The measures are not included as pocket vetoes in this table.

2President William J. Clinton withheld his signature from two measures during intrasession recess periods (H.R. 4810, 106th Congress, 2nd sess., and H.R. 8, 106th Congress, 2nd sess.) but returned the bills to the House, which proceeded to reconsider them. See, “Pocket-Veto Power -- Hon. J. Dennis Hastert – (Extensions of Remarks - September 19, 2000),” Congressional Record, 106th Cong., 2nd sess., (September 19, 2000): E1523. The bills are not included as pocket vetoes in this table.

3President George W. Bush withheld his signature from a measure during an intersession recess period (H.R. 1585, 110th Congress, 1st Sess.) but returned the bill to the House, which proceeded to reconsider it. See, “Pocket-Veto Power – (Extensions of Remarks – October 2, 2008),” Congressional Record, 110th Cong., 1st Sess., (October 2, 2008): E2197. The bill is not included as a pocket veto in this table.

4President Barack H. Obama withheld his signature from a measure during an intersession recess period (H.J. Res 64, 111th Congress, 1st sess.) and from a measure during an intrasession recess period (H.R. 3808, 111th Congress, 2nd sess.) but returned both measures to the House, which proceeded to reconsider them. “Pocket-Veto Power – (Extensions of Remarks – May 26, 2010),” Congressional Record, 111th Cong., 1st sess., (May 26, 2010): E941. The measures are not included as pocket vetoes in this table.