Is the veto a valuable tool or a dangerous weapon for a democratic form of government?

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A veto is defined by the US Senate Glossary as “the procedure established under the Constitution by which the president refuses to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevents its enactment into law.” Through this power, the president can return a bill or resolution that he disagrees with back to Congress. Generally, the president will also state his objections to the bill or edits desired. Once a bill has been vetoed, it can still pass, so long as the bill receives “a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House” (US Senate Glossary). Veto power is considered an important part of the extensive system of checks and balances in the US government. The president with the most vetoes was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who used this power 635 times.

On Friday, March 15, President Donald Trump issued his first veto, “rejecting legislation to overturn his declaration of a national emergency to fund a wall along the southwestern border” (New York Times). Whether or not you agree with Trump’s politics, his power to veto is an important component of the way US government works. Because of the system of checks and balances, I believe the power of a president to veto is a valuable tool. Because of the fact that Congress can still override a veto with a two-thirds vote, I do not see veto power as a dangerous weapon. The utilization of a veto requires all parties to reconsider the legislation and work together to create a bill or resolution that supports all parties’ goals, and ultimately, serves the people of the US.

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This is, of course, a matter of opinion.  I would argue that the veto is a valuable tool because of the fact that checks and balances are an important part of a democratic system.

It is important in a democracy that no person or governmental body should have too much power.  Checks and balances help to prevent this from happening.  The veto is an important check on the power of the Congress.  If there were no provision for a veto, it would be much easier for a Congress to enact extreme legislation that was not in the public interest.  Because the veto exists, Congress can be forced to be more moderate and measured in its actions.

A veto could be dangerous, but in the US system, it is not all-powerful.  The President's veto can be overridden by Congress if it thinks the President has gone too far.  Therefore, the veto is not a serious danger to democracy.

Checks and balances are important in a democratic government and the veto is an important check.  For this reason, it is a valuable tool.

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