Presidential Vetoes

The veto power is defined in Article 1, Section 7 of the US Constitution.  What is now called a "regular" veto is a case in which the President returns a bill to Congress (to the House in which it originated). The veto may be overridden by 2/3 vote of both Houses of Congress. The Constitution also specifies that if the President does not veto or sign a bill within 10 days (excluding Sundays), it becomes a law. This prevents the President from killing legislation through simple inaction. 

The exception is if Congress has adjourned before the 10 days are up--thereby preventing a possible return with a veto.  In that case the legislation does not become law.  This situation gives rise to what has been called a "pocket veto"--when the President does not return the leegislation to Congress, but simply does not act.  In that case the bill does not become law. 

During the 20th century controversy arose about the meaning of the word "adjournment" and the possibility for a pocket veto. Did this refer only to ajournment between Congresses ("adjournment sine die") or between sessions, or did it refer to any break (e.g., a "recess.") which might occur at the end of the 10-day period for a President to act on legislation?  In general, now Congress can provide for an "appropriate officer" to receive a President's veto message, and opportunity for prompt consideration of an override vote.  Presidents may still assert a pocket veto, but accompany it with a message setting forth their objections, so that there will be no confusion as to whether the legislation was vetoed or should have automatically become law.

President
Congress President's Party Seat Shares1 Vetoes

Success
Rate2

House Senate Total Regular Pocket
Overrides
George Washington Totals     2 2 0 0 100%
  1st 56.9% 69.2% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  2nd 56.5% 53.3% 1 1 0 0 100%
  3rd 48.1% 53.3% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  4th 44.3% 65.6% 1 1 0 0 100%
John Adams

Totals

    0 0 0 0 n/a
  5th 53.8% 68.8% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  6th 56.6% 68.8% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Thomas Jefferson Totals     0 0 0 0 n/a
  7th 63.6% 50% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  8th 72.5% 73.5% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  9th 80.3% 79.4% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  10th 81.7% 82.4% 0 0 0 0 n/a
James Madison

Totals

    7 5 2 0 100%
  11th 64.8% 79.4% 2 2 0 0 100%
  12th 74.8% 83.3% 2 1 1 0 100%
  13th 62.6% 77.8% 1 1 0 0 100%
  14th 65.0% 68.4% 2 1 1 0 100%
James Monroe Totals     1 1 0
0
100%
  15th 78.9% 71.4% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  16th 86.0% 80.4% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  17th 82.9% 91.7% 1 1 0 0 100%
  18th 30.0% 64.6% 0 0 0 0 n/a
John Quincy Adams

Totals

    0 0 0 0 n/a
  19th 51.2% 45.8% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  20th 46.9% 43.8% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Andrew Jackson Totals     12 5 7 0
100%
  21st 63.8% 52.1% 4 2 2 0 100%
  22nd 59.2% 50% 4 1 3 0 100%
  23rd 59.6% 41.7% 2 1 1 0 100%
  24th 59.1% 50% 2 1 1 0 100%
Martin van Buren

Totals

    1 0 1 0 n/a
  25th 52.9% 67.3% 1 0 1 0 n/a
  26th 51.7% 57.7% 0 0 0 0 n/a
William Henry Harrison 27th 58.7% 55.8% 0 0 0 0
n/a
John Tyler

Totals

    10 6 4 1 83.3%
  27th 58.7% 55.8% 7 4 3 0 100%
  28th 32.3% 55.8% 3 2 1 1 66.7%
James K. Polk Totals     3 2 1 0
100%
  29th 62.3% 58.6% 3 2 1 0 100%
  30th 47.8% 63.3% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Zachary Taylor 31st 46.4% 40.3% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Millard Fillmore Totals     0 0 0 0 n/a
  31st 46.4% 40.3% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  32nd 36.5% 37.1% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Franklin Pierce

Totals

    9 9 0 5
44.4%
  33rd 67.1% 61.3% 4 4 0 0 100%
  34th 35.5% 62.9% 5 5 0 5 0%
James Buchanan Totals     7 4 3 0 100%
  35th 55.7% 62.1% 4 1 3 0 100%
  36th 34.9% 57.6% 3 3 0 0 100%
Abraham Lincoln

Totals

    7 2 5 0 100%
  37th 59.0% 62.0% 3 2 1 0 100%
  38th 46.7% 63.5% 4 0 4 0 n/a
  39th 70.5% 72.2% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Andrew Johnson Totals     29 21 8 15
26.8%
  39th n/a n/a 13 11 2 6 45.5%
  40th n/a n/a 16 10 6 9 10.0%
Ulysses S. Grant

Totals

    93 45 48 4 91.1%
  41st 70.4% 83.8% 16 5 11 0 100%
  42nd 56.0% 75.7% 32 13 19 1 92.3%
  43rd 68.2% 63.5% 16 5 11 0 100%
  44th 35.2% 60.5% 29 22 7 3 86.4%
Rutherford B. Hayes Totals     13 12 1 1
91.7%
  45th 46.4% 52.6% 4 3 1 1 66.7%
  46th 45.1% 55.3% 9 9 0 0 n/a
James Garfield 47th 51.5% 48.7% 0 0 0 0 n/a
Chester Arthur Totals     12 4 8 1 75.0%
  47th 51.5% 48.7% 3 3 0 1 66.7%
  48th 36.0% 50% 9 1 8 0 100%
Grover Cleveland - I

Totals

    414 304 110 2 99.3%
  49th 56.0%

44.7%

202 145 57 2 98.6%
  50th 51.4% 48.7% 212 159 53 0 100%
Benjamin Harrison Totals     44 19 25
1
94.7%
  51st 53.9% 58.0% 36 15 21 0 100%
  52nd 25.9% 53.4% 8 4 4 1 75.0%
Grover Cleveland - II

Totals

    170 42 128 5 88.1%
  53rd 61.2% 50% 81 18 63 0 100%
  54th 26.1% 44.4% 89 24 65 5 79.2%
William McKinley Totals     42 6 36 0
100%
  55th 57.7% 48.9% 7 2 5 0 100%
  56th 52.4% 58.9% 35 4 31 0 100%
Theodore Roosevelt

Totals

    82 42 40 1 97.6%
  57th 56.0% 62.2% 21 15 6 0 100%
  58th 53.6% 63.3% 2 0 2 0 n/a
  59th 65.0% 64.4% 30 15 15 0 100%
  60th 57.0% 66.3% 29 12 17 1 91.7%
William Howard Taft Totals     39 30 9 1
96.7%
  61st 56.0% 65.2% 13 8 5 0 100%
  62nd 41.1% 54.2% 26 22 4 1 95.5%
Woodrow Wilson

Totals

    44 33 11 6 81.8%
  63rd 66.9% 53.1% 4 4 0 0 100%
  64th 52.9% 58.3% 6 4 2 1 75.0%
  65th 49.2% 56.3% 6 5 1 0 100%
  66th 44.1% 49.0% 28 20 8 5 75.0%
Warren G. Harding 67th 69.4% 61.5% 6 5 1 0
100%
Calvin Coolidge

Totals

    50 20 30 4 80.0%
  68th 51.7% 55.2% 7 3 4 1 66.7%
  69th 56.8% 56.3% 11 4 7 0 100%
  70th 54.7% 50% 32 13 19 3 76.9%
Herbert Hoover Totals     37 21 16 3 85.7%
  71st 62.1% 58.3% 19 11 8 2 81.8%
  72nd 50.1% 50% 18 10 8 1 90.0%
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Totals

    635 372 263 9 97.6%
  73rd 72.0% 61% 73 19 54 1 94.7%
  74th 74.0% 72% 148 84 64 1 98.8%
  75th 76.8% 79% 117 33 84 3 90.9%
  76th 60.2% 72% 167 126 41 2 98.4%
  77th 61.4% 69% 82 79 3 0 100%
  78th 51.0% 59% 46 29 17 2 93.1%
  79th 55.6% 59% 2 2 0 0 100%
Harry S. Truman Totals     250 180 70
12
93.3%
  79th 55.6% 59% 74 54 20 0 100%
  80th 43.2% 47% 75 42 33 6 85.7%
  81st 60.5% 56% 79 70 9 3 95.7%
  82nd 50.4% 51% 22 14 8 3 78.6%
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Totals

    181 73 108 2 97.3%
  83rd 50.8% 50% 52 21 31 0 100%
  84th 46.7% 49% 34 12 22 0 100%
  85th 46.2% 49% 51 18 22 0 100%
  86th 35.2% 35% 44 22 22 2 90.9%
John F. Kennedy Totals     21 12 9 0 100%
  87th 60.5% 64% 20 11 9 0 100%
  88th 59.5% 66% 1 1 0 0 100%
Lyndon B. Johnson

Totals

    30 16 14 0
100%
  88th 59.5% 66% 8 4 4 0 100%
  89th 67.8% 68% 14 10 4 0 100%
  90th 56.8% 64% 8 2 6 0 100%
Richard Nixon Totals     43 26 17 7 73.1%
  91st 44.1% 43% 11 8 3 3 62.5%
  92nd 41.4% 44% 20 6 14 2 66.7%
  93rd 44.1% 42% 12 12 0 2 83.3%
Gerald R. Ford

Totals

    66 48 18 12
75.0%
  93rd 44.1% 42% 27 16 11 4 75.0%
  94th 33.1% 38% 39 32 7 8 75.0%
Jimmy Carter Totals     31 13 18 2 84.6%
  95th 67.1% 61% 19 6 13 0 100%
  96th 63.7% 58% 12 7 5 2 71.4%
Ronald Reagan

Totals

    78 39 39 9
76.9%
  97th 44.1% 53% 15 9 6 2 77.8%
  98th 38.2% 54% 24 9 15 2 77.8%
  99th 41.8% 53% 20 13 7 2 84.6%
  100th 40.7% 45% 19 8 11 3 62.5%
George Bush Totals     44 29 15 1 96.6%
  101st 40.2% 45% 20 15 4 0 100%
  102nd 38.4% 44% 24 14 11 1 92.9%
William J. Clinton

Totals

    37 36 1 2 94.4%
  103rd 59.3% 57% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  104th 46.9% 48% 17 17 0 1 94.1%
  105th 47.4% 45% 8 8 0 1 87.5%
  106th 48.5% 45% 12 11 1 0 100%
George W. Bush Totals     12 11 1 4
63.6%
  107th 50.8% 50% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  108th 52.6% 51% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  109th 53.3% 55% 1 1 0 0 100%
  110th 46.4% 49% 11 10 1 4 60.0%
Barack Obama

Totals

    12 12 0 1 91.7%
  111th3 58.9% 60% 2 2 0 0 100%
  112th3 44.4% 53% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  113th4 46.2% 55% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  114th4 43.2% 46% 10 10 0 1 90%
Donald J. Trump Totals     6 6 0 0
100
  115th4 55.4% 52% 0 0 0 0 n/a
  116th4 45.7% 53% 6 6 0 0 100

 

Last Updated

Data through December 31, 2019 (116th Congress, 1st Session)

Notes

1 Percentage following election. Partisan divisions often change in the middle of a session due to mid-term vacancies.
2 Proportion of regular vetoes that are not overridden. "Pocket Vetoes" can only occur after a session of Congress has adjourned and cannot be overridden by Congress.
3 For the purposes of calculating the Democratic share of the Senate in the 111th and 112th Congresses the APP includes the two independent Senators (Lieberman-CT and Sanders-VT) because they caucus with the Democrats.
4 For the purpose of calculating the Democratic share of the Senate in the 113th through 115th Congresses, the APP includes the independent Senators Sanders (VT) and King (ME) because they caucus with the Democrats.

Source(s)

• House Partisan Divisions adapted from the Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives.
• Senate Partisan Divisions adapted from the United States Senate Historical Office.
• 1789 - 1945 vetoes data obtained from "Presidential Vetoes, 1789-1988" (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992).
• 1945 - present vetoes data compiled by Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project.

Citations

Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley. "Presidential Vetoes." The American Presidency Project. Ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California. 1999-2019.  https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/323889