NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 23, 2006

President Bush today becomes the longest-sitting president since Thomas Jefferson not to exercise his veto, surpassing James Monroe.

  • Monroe was in office 1,888 days before he vetoed his first bill on May 4, 1822, a measure to impose a toll on the first federal highway.
  • Jefferson never exercised his veto during his two terms (1801-1809).
  • Today is Bush's 1,889th day in office, and no veto is in sight; as of Wednesday, Congress had sent him 1,091 bills and he signed them all.

Bush came close to a veto last month when Congress threatened to block a deal to turn over operations at ports in six states to a company owned by the Arab emirate of Dubai. He threatened a veto, but he avoided a showdown when the Dubai company decided to sell that part of its business to American interests.

Bush has used veto threats to shape bills more to his liking, says USA Today. For example:

  • The House wanted $370 billion for last year's highway bill; the Senate, $318 billion.
  • Bush drew the line at $256 billion, then compromised at $286.4 billion, more than he wanted but far below the House and Senate levels.

Bush said Tuesday that the veto threat has helped him reduce the rate of domestic spending: "One reason why I haven't vetoed any appropriation bills is because they met the benchmarks we've set."

Source: Richard Benedetto, "1,889 days and no vetoes: Bush gaining on Jefferson," USA Today, March 23, 2006.


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