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Veto Message (Pocket Veto)

December 06, 1832

To the Senate of the United States:

I avail myself of this early opportunity to return to the Senate, in which it originated, the bill entitled "An act providing for the final settlement of the claims of States for interest on advances to the United States made during the last war," with the reasons which induced me to withhold my approbation, in consequence of which it has failed to become a law.

This bill was presented to me for my signature on the last day of your session, and when I was compelled to consider a variety of other bills of greater urgency to the public service. It obviously embraced a principle in the allowance of interest different from that which had been sanctioned by the practice of the accounting officers or by the previous legislation of Congress in regard to the advances by the States, and without any apparent grounds for the change.

Previously to giving my sanction to so great an extension of the practice of allowing interest upon accounts with the Government, and which in its consequences and from analogy might not only call for large payments from the Treasury, but disturb the great mass of individual accounts long since finally settled, I deemed it my duty to make a more thorough investigation of the subject than it was possible for me to do previously to the close of your last session. I adopted this course the more readily from the consideration that as the bill contained no appropriation the States which would have been entitled to claim its benefits could not have received them without the fuller legislation of Congress.

The principle which this bill authorizes varies not only from the practice uniformly adopted by many of the accounting officers in the case of individual accounts and in those of the States finally settled and closed previously to your last session, but also from that pursued under the act of your last session for the adjustment and settlement of the claims of the State of South Carolina. This last act prescribed no particular mode for the allowance of interest, which, therefore, in conformity with the directions of Congress in previous cases and with the uniform practice of the Auditor by whom the account was settled, was computed on the sums expended by the State of South Carolina for the use and benefit of the United States, and which had been repaid to the State; and the payments made by the United States were deducted from the principal sums, exclusive of the interest, thereby stopping future interest on so much of the principal as had been reimbursed by the payment.

I deem it proper, moreover, to observe that both under the act of the 5th of August, 1790, and that of the 12th of February, 1793, authorizing the settlement of the accounts between the United States and the individual States arising out of the war of the Revolution, the interest on those accounts was computed in conformity with the practice already adverted to, and from which the bill now returned is a departure.

With these reasons and considerations I return the bill to the Senate.


Andrew Jackson, Veto Message (Pocket Veto) Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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