Due to delays in negations and a computer glitch that prolonged their work, Congress has actually backed themselves into a corner with their stimulus fantasy because President Donald J. Trump has the ability to wait out the Bill, without even having to veto it, thereby completely sidestepping any threats of veto-proof supermajorities. The calendar is quickly approaching the end of this Congress’s session on Dec 29th and starting a new and more Trump-friendly session, which starts 3rd.
One of the tools Trump cold use to deny the Congress their massive bill is a Constitutional Authority he has as President called “The Pocket Veto”.
According to US Senate.GOV, “pocket veto – The Constitution grants the president 10 days to review a measure passed by the Congress. If the president has not signed the bill after 10 days, it becomes law without his signature. However, if Congress adjourns during the 10-day period, the bill does not become law.”
Pergram wrote on Twitter:
The President did not outright say he will veto the coronavirus/government spending bill. But he very well could prevent it from being the law, via a pocket veto. Pocket vetoes are very rare. Congress has to be in the proper parliamentary posture for this possibility to be in play. But we could very well be in those circumstances now. Under Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, the President has ten days (Sundays) excluded to either sign or veto a bill. Keep in mind that because of the massive nature of the combo bill, the bill has not even been enrolled yet and sent to the President.
But here’s where the pocket veto comes into play.
The latest the current Congressional session can end is 11:59:59 am on January 3. That is the drop-dead time for the 116th Congress. A President may in effect “veto” a bill by keeping it in his “pocket” and not signing it if it comes too close to the end of a Congressional adjournment.
ongress must adjourn sine die (pronounced sy-nee DY, and is Latin, for leaving without a return date) no later than 11:59:59 pm et on January 3. In other words, Congress would have to get the President the bill by December 23 to prevent a pocket veto. Otherwise, the President could run out the clock on the Congressional session, effectively blocking any potential override attempt. The President would have to send it back to Capitol Hill with a veto.
If he failed to do so in the ten days/Sundays excluded window, then the bill would automatically become law. Note that the President did not outright threaten a veto. And, it’s unclear that the President’s demands could even pass the House and Senate. Moreover, you can’t “re-open” a bill like this for amendment. You can’t. It’s done. You have to start again. Here’s another problem. The government is currently operating on a seven-day interim spending bill.
Attached to the COVID bill is a $1.4 trillion spending package to fund the government through September 30, 2021. If the President vetoes the COVID/omnibus bill, or, if he fails to sign the bill by December 28, there is a government shutdown.
This scenario has the potential to get very interesting.
Also note that Congress really dragged its feet working this bill out at the end. The final products passed both chambers with overwhelming supermajorities. Well, above the two-thirds thresholds necessary to override a veto.
Had Congress comes to an agreement a few days earlier, the possibility of a veto or a pocket veto would not be in play. Congress could vote, in the waning moments of the 116th Congress, to override his veto on the coronavirus/omnibus bill.
But that didn’t happen. Negotiations lasted through the weekend. There was a computer glitch on Capitol Hill, which delayed the House and Senate from considering the bill. And here we are.