Until Tuesday, Barack Obama has not exercised his veto power more than twice in his presidency, according to CNN. In the past, when Democrats took most control in the Senate, it could be argued he never needed to.
Now, he has finally decided to exercise power, as he has vetoed a bill filed by Republicans that would’ve approved the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Reuters reported. The bill was proposed to bring oil to the United States from Canada.
Obama used fewer vetoes than most
One needs to go back to 1881 to find a president who has exercised fewer vetoes. James Garfield, who was in office for 200 days, spent less the number while recovering from an assassination attempt.
However, Obama’s steel determination undermines his conservatism, as he had said, “This is even better than the veto pen.”
Reuters reported that Obama rejected the Keystone XL bill only a few hours after it arrived in the White House, prompting Republicans to react.
“The president’s veto of the Keystone jobs bill is a national embarrassment,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner. “The president is just too close to environmental extremists to stand up for America’s workers. He’s too invested in left-fringe politics to do what presidents are called on to do, and that’s put the national interest first.”
A Princeton University professor, Julian Zelizer, had said, “I think there is genuine hesitance about overreaching.” Obama had been touchy about his predecessor George W. Bush exercising a lot of executive power. Such was reflected in Obama’s 2008 presidential.
Bush exercised 11 vetoes in his last years in office. Although it is unlikely Obama will beat Bush in the amount of presidential power exercised, the rate of veto usage may increase now that Democrats have been defeated in both houses. There is also fear that Obama is increasingly becoming defiant against Republicans and is not likely to yield to their dictates. The halt of undercutting the healthcare bill and tougher sanctions on Iran are cases in point.
Zelizer also said, “He also ultimately believed that he would be able to get the legislative process moving. It took him a long time to realize that is not the case.”
However, even if Obama enters into a spree of vetoes and orders, he possibly cannot reach anywhere near Franklin Roosevelt, a fellow Democrat, vetoing 635 times and issuing executive orders 3,700 times.