Letter from House of Representatives to President of the United States, September 7, 2000
| Letter from House of Representatives to President of the United States, September 7, 2000
|Speaker Hastert inserted this letter into the Congressional Record at 2000 E1523 illustrating his objections to President Clinton's statements as to the availability of the pocket veto during several of his veto messages. On November 13, 2000, the House reinserted the letter into their record by unanimous consent on Clinton's similar assertion of the availability (at 2000 H11852).|
Mr. HASTERT. Mr. Speaker, I submit for the RECORD a copy of a letter signed jointly by myself and the Democratic Leader, Mr. Gephardt. It is addressed to President Clinton. In it, we express our views on the limits of the ‘‘pocket-veto’’ power. I also submit a copy of the letter referenced therein, which was sent to President Bush on November 21, 1989, by Speaker Foley and Republican Leader Michel.
November 13 introduction
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. PEASE). The objections of the President will be spread at large upon the Journal, and the veto message and the bill will be printed as a House document.
On September 19, 2000, the Speaker inserted in the Extensions of Remarks portion of the RECORD a copy of a letter dated September 7, 2000, signed jointly by him and the Democratic leader and addressed to the President of the United States, expressing their views on the limits of the "pocket veto" power and including a similar letter from Speaker Foley and Republican leader Michel sent to President Bush on November 21, 1989. Without objection, that correspondence is reinserted at this point in the RECORD, since no response has been received to the September 7, 2000, letter and the same assertion by the President of "pocket-veto" power during an intrasession adjournment of Congress to a day certain is contained in the veto message just read to the House.
Text of the letter
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC, September 7, 2000.
Hon. WILLIAM J. CLINTON,
The President, The White House, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: This is in response to your actions on H.R. 4810, the Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000, and H.R. 8, the Death Tax Elimination Act of 2000. On August 5, 2000, you returned H.R. 4810 to the House of Representatives without your approval and with a message stating your objections to its enactment. On August 31, 2000, you returned H.R. 8 to the House of Representatives without your approval and with a message stating your objections to its enactment. In addition, however, in both cases you included near the end of your message the following:
Since the adjournment of the Congress has prevented my return of [the respective bill] within the meaning of Article I, section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution, my withholding of approval from the bill precludes its becoming law. The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929). In addition to withholding my signature and thereby invoking my constitutional power to "pocket veto" bills during an adjournment of the Congress, to avoid litigation, I am also sending [the respective bill] to the House of Representatives with my objections, to leave no possible doubt that I have vetoed the measure.
President Bush similarly asserted a pocket-veto authority during an intersession adjournment with respect to H.R. 2712 of the 101st Congress but, by nevertheless returning the enrollment, similarly permitted the Congress to reconsider it in light of his objections, as contemplated by the Constitution. Your allusion to the existence of a pocket-veto power during even an intrasession adjournment continues to be most troubling. We find that assertion to be inconsistent with the return-veto that it accompanies. We also find that assertion to be inconsistent with your previous use of the return-veto under similar circumstances but without similar dictum concerning the pocket-veto. On January 9, 1996, you stated your disapproval of H.R. 4 of the 104th Congress and, on January 10, 1996–the tenth Constitutional day after its presentment–returned the bill to the Clerk of the House. At the time, the House stood adjourned to a date certain 12 days hence. Your message included no dictum concerning the pocket-veto.
We enclose a copy of a letter dated November 21, 1989, from Speaker Foley and Minority Leader Michel to President Bush. That letter expressed the profound concern of the bipartisan leaderships over the assertion of a pocket veto during an intrasession adjournment. That letter states in pertinent part that "[s]uccessive Presidential administrations since 1974 have, in accommodation of Kennedy v. Sampson, exercised the veto power during intrasession adjournments only by messages returning measures to the Congress." It also states our belief that it is not "constructive to resurrect constitutional controversies long considered as settled, especially without notice or consultation." The Congress, on numerous occasions, has reinforced the stance taken in that letter by including in certain resolutions of adjournment language affirming to the President the absence of "pocket veto" authority during adjournments between its first and second sessions. The House and the Senate continue to designate the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate, respectively, as their agents to receive messages from the President during periods of adjournment. Clause 2(h) of rule II, Rules of the House of Representatives; House Resolution 5, 106th Congress, January 6, 1999; the standing order of the Senate of January 6, 1999. In Kennedy v. Sampson, 511 F.2d 430 (D.C. Cir. 1974), the court held that the "pocket veto" is not constitutionally available during an intrasession adjournment of the Congress if a congressional agent is appointed to receive veto messages from the President during such adjournment.
On these premises we find your assertion of a pocket veto power during an intrasession adjournment extremely troublesome. Such assertions should be avoided, in appropriate deference to such judicial resolution of the question as has been possible within the bounds of justifiability.
Meanwhile, citing the precedent of January 23, 1990, relating to H.R. 2712 of the 101st Congress, the House yesterday treated both H.R. 4810 and H.R. 8 as having been returned to the originating House, their respective returns not having been prevented by an adjournment within the meaning of article I, section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution.
J. DENNIS HASTERT,
RICHARD A. GEPHARDT,
- Letter from House of Representatives to President of the United States, November 21, 1989: This letter was attached to the above letter, and referred to a situation where by President George H. W. Bush invoked the pocket veto at a time the House claimed it was not available.
|This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).|