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Introduction House of Representatives The Senate Making Laws The Veto


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House History:
Presidential Vetoes, 1789 to Present

House of Representatives The Senate Making Laws The Veto

The Veto

A bill becomes law if the president signs it. The president doesn't always wish to sign the bill. He may choose to say "no" by vetoing it. If this happens, the bill is sent back to Congress. If two-thirds of all the members of Congress vote "yes," the bill can still become law. The bill dies when there are not enough votes to override the President. For example, when George Bush was president, Congress tried to override his vetoes thirty-six times but was successful only once. Sometimes a president decides to do nothing. He may decide neither to sign nor veto a bill. If Congress is in session, the bill becomes law after ten days without the president's signature. Otherwise, the bill suffers a pocket veto and does not become law.

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The word veto does not appear in the United States Constitution, but Article I requires every bill, order, resolution, or other act of legislation by the Congress of the United States to be presented to the President of the United States for his approval.

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