Engrossment, Enrollment, and Presentation of Legislation Page: 3 of 3
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an enrolled bill to the President. Preparing and signing enrolled bills may take significant
time, especially at the end of a Congress when many such bills must be prepared.
Presentation. The Constitution provides that "Every Bill which shall have passed
the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented
to the President of the United States."16 Enrolled bills are delivered to the White House
by the Clerk of the House or Secretary of the Senate, as determined by the chamber in
which the measure originated, and stamped to certify the date and time of their arrival.
The clerk and secretary are also required to report the fact and date of presentation to the
President to their respective chambers.17 When the President has been away from
Washington, DC for long periods of time, Congress has sometimes agreed to present
enrolled measures to him on his return; at other times, bills have been sent to him.
If the President signs a bill during the 10-day period, excluding Sundays, provided
in the Constitution for his review, it becomes law. If the President disapproves, or vetoes,
a bill, he must return it to the originating chamber with a message indicating his reasons
for disapproval. If the President does not sign or return a bill during the 10 days, the bill
becomes law,18 unless the Congress has adjourned during the 10 days, thereby making
impossible the return of the bill (pocket veto).19 Some doubt exists about the President's
power to pocket veto a bill during intra-session and inter-session adjournments. In 1974,
the Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a pocket veto was improper during an intra-session
adjournment in which House and Senate administrative officers had been authorized to
receive presidential messages.20 Many claim that Congress may also authorize its officers
to receive messages, including vetoes, during any intra-session adjournment or after any
inter-session adjournment. The courts have not ruled directly on this pocket veto-related
Any attempt by Congress to deprive the President of his right to be presented with
measures before they become law may be constitutionally suspect. The Supreme Court
in 1983 ruled the legislative veto to be unconstitutional for this reason.21 Subsequently,
in 1998, the Court declared that procedures set up in the Line Item Veto Act (P.L. 104-30)
also violated the presentment clause of the Constitution.22
16 U.S. Constitution, Article I, sec. 7.
17 House Rule II, cl. (2)(d)(2); and Senate Rule XIV, cl. 5.
18 U.S. Constitution, Article I, sec. 7.
19 See also, CRS Report RS22188, Regular Vetoes and Pocket Vetoes: An Overview, by Kevin
20 Kennedy v. Sampson, 511 F.2d. 430 (D.C. Cir., 1974).
21 INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, (1983).
22 Clinton v. City of New York, (118 S. Ct. 2091 (1998).
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Engrossment, Enrollment, and Presentation of Legislation, report, March 24, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc815019/m1/3/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.