Possible Pocket Veto Holding Back Lobbying and Ethics Bill


Fearing a pocket veto of the recently passed lobbying and ethics bill Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid are holding off on sending the bill to the President during the August recess. According to Roll Call, "Democrats are worried that Bush could decline to sign the bill in the constitutionally specified 10-day period, leaving lawmakers with no opportunity to overturn the pocket veto." The White House has voiced concerns over three aspects of the bill: the Senate earmark reforms do not go far enough, the requirement of candidates to pay charter rates rather than first-class rates when they travel is unfair, especially considering that it will apply to incumbent Presidential use of Air Force One, and that the revolving door provision is tougher on executive branch officials and Senators than it is on members of the House. Holding the bill is probably the best plan for Democratic leaders as the President does not have the votes to sustain a veto should he choose to veto come September.

In case you were wondering what a pocket veto is and wanted to know how it is used I pulled some useful CRS reports on the subject. The first is titled "Regular Vetoes and Pocket Vetoes: An Overview" and it provides a quick run-down on the difference between the two and the frequency of use by each President. For a more detailed examination about the history, use, and legal rulings on the pocket veto read "The Pocket Veto: Its Current Status". The pocket veto, historically, was only used at the end of the second session of a Congress. President Reagan broke with this tradition by issuing intersession pocket vetoes in 1981 and 1983. President Clinton issued three intrasession pocket vetoes during his time in office. If the current President Bush were to pocket veto the lobbying and ethics bill it would be considered an intrasession pocket veto.