Ulysses S. Grant photo

Veto Message

February 07, 1871

To the Senate of the United States:

I hereby return without my approval Senate resolution No. 92, entitled "A resolution for the relief of certain contractors for the construction of vessels of war and steam machinery," for the following reasons:

The act of March 2, 1867 (14 U. S. Statutes at Large, p. 424), directs the Secretary of the Navy--

to investigate the claims of all contractors for building vessels of war and steam machinery for the same under contracts made after the 1st day of May, 1861, and prior to the first day of January, 1864; and said investigation to be made upon the following basis: He shall ascertain the additional cost which was necessarily incurred by each contractor in the completion of his work by reason of any changes or alterations in the plans and specifications required, and delays in the prosecution of the work occasioned by the Government, which were not provided for in the original contract; but no allowance for any advance in the price of labor or material shall be considered unless such advance occurred during the prolonged time for completing the work rendered necessary by the delay resulting from the action of the Government aforesaid, and then only when such advance could not have been avoided by the exercise of ordinary prudence and diligence on the part of the contractor. * * *

The present joint resolution transfers the investigation to the Court of Claims, and repeals "so much of said act as provides against considering any allowance in favor of any such parties for any advance in the price of labor or material, unless such advance could have been avoided by the exercise of ordinary diligence and prudence on the part of the contractor." It seems to me that the provision thus repealed is a very reasonable one. It prevents the contractor from receiving any allowance for an advance in the price of labor and material when he could have avoided that advance by the exercise of ordinary prudence and diligence. The effect of the repeal will be to relieve contractors from the consequences of their own imprudence and negligence. I see no good reason for thus relieving contractors who have not exercised ordinary prudence and diligence in their business transactions.


Ulysses S. Grant, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/204232

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