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A pocket veto is a legislative maneuver in American federal lawmaking that allows the President indirectly to veto a bill. The U.S. Constitution requires the President to sign or veto any legislation placed on his desk within ten days (not including Sundays) while the United States Congress is in session. From the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 7 states:
"... If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law. "
If the President does not sign the bill within the required time period, the bill becomes law by default. However, the exception to this rule is if Congress adjourns before the ten days have passed and the President has not yet signed the bill. In such a case, the bill does not become law; it is effectively, if not actually, vetoed. If the President does sign the bill, it becomes law. Ignoring legislation, or "putting a bill in one's pocket" until Congress adjourns is thus called a pocket veto. Since Congress cannot vote while in adjournment, a pocket veto cannot be overridden (but see below). James Madison became the first president to use the pocket veto in 1812.
Mason's Manual says:
"When legislation is passed so late in the session that the session ends prior to the expiration of the time the governor is given to act on bills, the governor has the power to withhold action on the bill and let it die from failure to approve it. This is called the pocket veto."