On another forum, there was an allegation that President Obama abused his power when he vetoed the Bill that both Houses of Congress recently passed to eliminate what’s known as Obamacare, the national health care plan called The Affordable Care Act.
The allegation said, “Why should Congress make the effort to pass bills only to have them vetoed by the President? To say that this has been a ‘do nothing’ Congress is to ignore the fact that there hasn’t been anything they could do consistent with their beliefs and the beliefs of the people who elected them. If they did so, they would be betraying the trust of the voters.”
But the Framers of the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, gave every President of the United States the power to veto Bills passed by Congress and prevent the legislative branch from becoming too powerful. This is an illustration of the separation of powers integral to the U.S. Constitution.
While the word “veto” does not appear in the Constitution the power of the President to refuse to sign legislation is clearly outlined in the Constitution:
“Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.” – U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7, clause 2
Note, Article I was not added to the U.S. Constitution by an Amendment. Therefore the veto power of a U.S. President comes from the Founding Fathers as another method to control the abuse of power by another branch of the Federal government.
Therefore, President Obama has not abused his veto power. In fact, he has only used his Constitutional veto power 8 times and none were overridden with a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress as the U.S. Constitution spells out in detail.
In fact, G. W. Bush used his Constitutional veto power 12 times and 4 were overridden by both Houses of Congress.
President Bill Clinton used his veto power 37 times and 2 were overridden by Congress.
H. W. Bush used his Presidential veto power as written in the U.S. Constitutions by the Founding fathers 44 times and only 1 was overridden.
Ronald Reagan used his veto power 78 times and had 9 overridden by Congress.
In total, there have been 2,570 vetoes by U.S. Presidents and only 110 were overridden by Congress. There have only been six presidents who never used their veto power. Do you know who they were, and who used the Presidential veto the most?
Here’s the link to the list of Presidential vetoes all the way back to George Washington, who used his Constitutional veto power 2 times. If you are curious to discover if Congress overrode Washington’s 2 vetoes, you’ll have to click the link and scroll to the bottom of the list that is found on the U.S. Senate’s website.
If you are reading this Blog post and have read or heard that President Obama abused his power by using the presidential veto as it is spelled out in the U.S. Constitution, then whatever source you got this idea from is a liar and a fraud and cannot be trusted—ever.
Never forget what Abraham Lincoln, who used his veto power 7 times, said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Several presidents before Obama failed to get a national health care plan through Congress: for instance, Truman, Nixon, Carter and Clinton.
Do you remember the original question in the 2nd paragraph of this post: “Why should Congress make the effort to pass bills only to have them vetoed by the President?”
Well, since Obama has been President, Congress has enacted 1,080 laws and Obama vetoed EIGHT, less than one percent. – govtrack.us
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.
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