H.J.Res. 64 Veto: Disposing of the President's Veto of H.J. Res. 64 Making Further Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2010

H.J.Res. 64

Disposing of the President's Veto of H.J. Res. 64 Making Further Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2010

Date
January 13, 2010 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

A vote to dispose of the President's veto of H.J. Res. 64, a bill to make short-term continuing appropriations for FY 2010, is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Wednesday, January 13, 2010. The vote to override the President's veto requires a two-thirds majority. H.J. Res. 64 was introduced by Rep. David Obey (D-WI), and passed the House on December 16, 2009, by voice vote and passed the Senate on December 19, 2009, by Unanimous Consent. The bill was vetoed by the President on December 30, 2009.

Bill Summary

The vote to dispose of the President's veto of H.J. Res 64 would override the veto of the short-term continuing resolution (CR). H.J. Res. 64 was passed in the House on December 16, 2009, by voice vote and would have extended federal funding for any un-passed appropriations bills from December 19, 2009, to December 23, 2009. On December 19, 2009, the President signed the final FY 2010 appropriations bill, which made H.J. Res. 64, a stopgap funding measure, unnecessary. Thus, overriding the President's veto would have no effect.

Background

On December 16, 2009, the House passed H.J. Res. 64, a short-term CR to provide the Senate time to pass the final FY 2010 appropriations bill, the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act of 2010.  The Senate passed the short term CR and the DoD Appropriations bill on December 19, 2009, and both bills were sent to the President.  The President signed the FY 2010 DoD funding bill, which made the short-term CR unnecessary.

Under the guidelines set forth in Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution, if the President does not veto a bill that has been passed by the House and the Senate within ten days, the bill becomes law, unless the bill cannot be returned because Congress adjourned.  In the case of such an adjournment by Congress, the bill does not become law after ten days.  Specifically, the Constitution states:

If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

The process of killing a bill because it cannot be returned during a Congressional adjournment is known as a "pocket veto."

When the House adjourned on December 16, however, it stipulated that messages could be received from the White House in order to prevent the use of a pocket veto.  In the past, the House has opposed the use of the pocket veto when the Congress is adjourned between sessions, and has questioned the constitutionality of the tactic.  The President attempted to employ both the pocket veto and the formal veto by returning the bill to Congress.  When he returned the bill to the House the President explained, "To leave no doubt that the bill is being vetoed as unnecessary legislation, in addition to withholding my signature, I am also returning H.J.Res. 64 to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, along with this Memorandum of Disapproval." 

The vote to override the pocket veto of H.J.Res. 64 is meant only to assert the House's position that the President cannot exercise a pocket veto when the House and Senate are adjourned but are still able to receive messages from the White House.  Whether or not the veto is overridden, the legislation would have no effect because the dates of the CR have already passed and the funding is being provided through other legislation.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate for H.J. Res. 64 was not available as of press time, but the legislation would not appropriate any funds because the dates of the continuing resolution have already expired.