Thursday, January 31, 2019

Has Trump Never Heard of the Veto Override?

The President seems to think that he has the final say over whether the government will be open or shut down if he doesn’t get his wall.  Not surprisingly, he does not seem to understand the constitution’s careful structure of checks and balances among the three branches of government.

If Congress passes a bi-partisan spending bill that does not provide for Trump’s wall and Trump vetoes it, Congress then has the ability to override his veto if 2/3 of those voting in each chamber so vote.  That means 67 Senators and 290 Representatives.

If roughly a third of the Republican members of Congress finally show some spine, the override would pass.  It would require 20 Republican Senators and 55 Republican Representatives.

Given the recent behavior of Republicans in Congress, it’s hard to imagine that many bucking the President.  However, many have become nervous about the shutdown, of the effect it was having on their constituents, and thus on their future electability.  After just having gone through the ordeal of a 34-day shutdown, they do not want to be tagged with supporting another one.  So it is possible.

It would be heart-warming to see democracy in action again!

The other way out that both Republicans and Democrats are actively discussing is to categorically prevent future shutdowns by continuing funding at current levels when there is a dispute that prevents funding legislation from passing.  That would not have the “beauty” of an override, but it would do the job of keeping government open and end the history of cliff-hangers that we have experienced so often over the last decade or more.

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