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Today in history: April 5
George Washington issued the first presidential veto
George Washington consults with members of his first cabinet, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson (seated) and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. 
George Washington consults with members of his first cabinet, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson (seated) and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton.  Three Lions/Getty Images

April 5

On this day. 1792: George Washington issued the first presidential veto, rejecting a bill to give more House seats to northern states. Washington issued just two vetoes during his eight years in office. In 1797, he rejected a bill that would have reduced the number of Army cavalry units.

A presidential veto occurs when a president rejects a bill that has been passed by the House and Senate. No bill can become a law unless the president signs it, and while Congress can vote to override a presidential veto, causing the bill to become law without the president's approval, this rarely happens. Usually, the mere threat of a presidential veto is enough motivation for Congress to modify the bill before approving it and sending it to the White House.

Quote of the day

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." –George Washington


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