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Has this ever happened before? Vetoing legislation that passed unanimously?
by gk (gk) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 01:59:08 AM EST
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This is just weird.

The legislation passes unanimously, but without an actual vote (just by "no objection to unanimous consent").

In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house, is a situation in which no one present objects to a proposal. The chair may state, for instance: "If there is no objection, the motion will be adopted. [pause] Since there is no objection, the motion is adopted" or in Westminster parliaments, "There being no objection, leave is granted." On the most routine matters, such as inserting an article into the Congressional Record, the chair may shorten this statement to four words: "Without objection, so ordered" or even to two words: "Without objection." If no member objects the motion is adopted, but if any member does declare his opposition the motion is not adopted and cannot be agreed to without a vote.
Then it gets an underhanded veto ("pocket veto")
A pocket veto is a legislative maneuver in United States federal lawmaking that allows the President to indirectly veto a bill. The U.S. Constitution requires the President to sign or veto any legislation placed on his desk within ten days (not including Sundays) while the United States Congress is in session. From the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 7 states:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.
If the President does not sign the bill within the required time period, the bill becomes law by default. However, the exception to this rule is if Congress adjourns before the ten days have passed and the President has not yet signed the bill. In such a case, the bill does not become law; it is effectively, if not actually, vetoed.
This is the equivalent of passive-aggressive behaviour on the part of the legislative and executive branches, presumably in response to very strong pressure from the financial sector and in strong fear of a very polarised public opinion (whatever you do you will be denounced by either the left or the right in the strongest terms, so you just do nothing).

In other words, both the Congress and the White House are scared out of their wits and doing stupid shit they are not convinced about.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 03:58:34 AM EST
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