Today in history: April 5

West Wing Reports
The Week

George Washington issued the first presidential veto

April 5

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On this day. 1792: George Washington issued the first presidential veto, rejecting a bill to give more House seats to northern states. Washington issued just two vetoes during his eight years in office. In 1797, he rejected a bill that would have reduced the number of Army cavalry units.

A presidential veto occurs when a president rejects a bill that has been passed by the House and Senate. No bill can become a law unless the president signs it, and while Congress can vote to override a presidential veto, causing the bill to become law without the president's approval, this rarely happens. Usually, the mere threat of a presidential veto is enough motivation for Congress to modify the bill before approving it and sending it to the White House.

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Quote of the day

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." –George Washington

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