Study Notes

Congressional Override

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

As the name suggests, a Congressional Override is the process why which legislation is passed even after a President has vetoed the initial passage.

For this process to happen, a President must have first officially vetoed legislation. A pocket veto cannot be overridden as the Congressional session has ended. In order for a congressional override to happen Congress must vote on the bill again, however this time a two thirds or supermajority must be attained. This must be obtained in both chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In a total of 2565 vetoes since George Washington, only 110 have been overridden. Many presidents have had no vetoes overridden, whilst others have had many. Andrew Johnson had 15 of his 21 vetoes overridden.

Congressional Override is one of the checks and balances that was created by the Founding Fathers wanted, it is designed to be a check on the power of the executive by the legislature.

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