Override a Veto
If the president disapproves a bill and sends it back to Congress with his objections, Congress may try to override his veto and enact the bill into law. Neither chamber is required to attempt to override a veto. The override of a veto requires a recorded vote with a two-thirds majority in each chamber. The question to put to each chamber is “Shall the bill pass, the objections of the president to the contrary notwithstanding?” Historically, Congress has overridden fewer than ten percent of all presidential vetoes.
A Public Law may be enacted over a president’s veto, when Congress is successful in its attempt to override the president’s veto. Upon reconsideration and debate, the president’s veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote in the chamber of origin of the bill (a quorum must be present). If the president’s veto is not overridden, the bill does not become law.
Senate votes to override President Obama’s veto of 9/11 bill
If the vote succeeds, an endorsement is made on the back of the bill affirming that one chamber has overridden the veto, and it is sent, with the accompanying message, to the other chamber for its action. If it is likewise reconsidered and passes with a two-thirds vote in the other chamber, the president’s veto is again overridden, and the bill is similarly endorsed. When both chambers thus override the presidential veto, the bill is enacted into law. It is not presented again to the president, but is delivered directly for deposit in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). It is printed, with the attestations of the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate to its passage over the president’s veto.
- Congress by the Numbers
- Pocket Veto
- § 6.292, Vetoes and Veto Overrides: Presidential Clout, in Congressional Deskbook
- Chapter 6.G. The President; in Congressional Procedure
- Congress by the Numbers
- Summary of Bills Vetoed, 1789-present – Senate
- “Presidential Vetoes, 1989–2000,” Compiled by the Senate Library, October 2001, S. Pub. 107–10 (61-page PDF)
- “Veto Override Procedure in the House and Senate,” CRS Report RS22654 (9-page PDF)
- “The Presidential Veto and Congressional Procedure,” CRS Report RS21750 (6-page PDF)
- “Regular Vetoes and Pocket Vetoes: An Overview,” CRS Report RS22188 (6-page PDF)
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