Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

April 30, 1886

To the Senate of the United States:

I herewith return without my approval Senate bill No. 141, entitled "An act to extend the provisions of the act of June 10, 1880, entitled 'An act to amend the statutes in relation to immediate transportation of dutiable goods, and for other purposes,' to the port of Omaha, in the State of Nebraska."

The statute, which was passed June 10, 1880, referred to in the title of this bill permitted certain merchandise imported at specified ports, but which was consigned to certain other ports which were mentioned by name in the seventh section of said act, to be shipped immediately after entry at the port of arrival to such destination.

The seventh section of said act contained the names of more than seventy ports or places to which imported merchandise might be thus immediately shipped. One of the places thus named is "Omaha, in Nebraska."

But it was declared in a proviso which was made a part of this section that the privilege of immediate transportation contemplated by the act should "not extend to any place at which there are not the necessary officers for the appraisement of merchandise and the collection of duties."

Because there were no such officers at Omaha the privilege mentioned was withheld from that place by the Treasury Department.

The bill submitted to me for approval provides that these privileges conferred by the act of June 10, 1880, be "extended to the port of Omaha, in the State of Nebraska, as provided for as to the ports mentioned in section 7 of said act."

I can not see that anything is gained by this legislation.

If the circumstances should warrant such a course, the authority which withholds such privileges from any of the places mentioned in the law of 1880 can confer the same without the aid of a new statute. This position is sustained by an opinion of the Attorney-General, dated in February, 1885.

If the legislation now proposed should become operative, the privileges extended to the city of Omaha would still be subject to the proviso attached to the seventh section of the law of 1880, and such newly granted privileges would be liable to immediate withdrawal by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Thus, if the design of this bill is to restore to the city named the privileges permitted by the law of 1880, it seems to be entirely unnecessary, since the power of such restoration is now fully vested in the Treasury Department. If the object sought is to bestow such privileges entirely free from the operation of the proviso above recited, the language of the bill does not accomplish that result.

I understand that the Government has not now at Omaha "the necessary officers for the appraisement of merchandise and the collection of duties," which by such proviso are necessary in order to secure to any place the advantages of immediate transportation. In the absence of such officers the proposed legislation would be nugatory and inoperative.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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