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Law Permitting Congress's Veto Is Itself Vetoed

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President Reagan last week refused to sign a bill passed during the final days of the 97th Congress that would have strengthened the legislative branch's right to review and, if it deemed appropriate, to veto federal education regulations.

By using the "pocket' veto, the President can fail to act on, and thereby veto, a measure approved by the Congress if the Congress's adjournment prevents him from returning it to the chamber where it originated. Normally, a bill automatically becomes law if the President fails to act on it within 10 days of receiving it. The bill, HR 7336, was drafted largely in response to a confrontation last summer between the Congress and the Education Department over the applicability of the General Education Provisions Act (gepa) to Chapters 1 and 2 of the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981.

Among other things, gepa guarantees the Congress's review and veto rights with respect to federal education regulations. The department, in regulations published last August, held that gepa was not applicable to the new education block-grant and old Title I programs. The Congress held otherwise and voted to veto the regulations. Eventually, the department backed down on the issue and published new regulations saying that gepa applied to the two programs.--tfm

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