On July 27, 2017, the US Senate approved in a 98-2 vote H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (“H.R. 3364”). We previously summarized H.R. 3364 in our blog posts here and here. H.R. 3364 now goes to the White House where the President will have 10 days to (1) sign the bill, (2) veto the bill, or (3) permit the bill to become law without his signature. The 10-day clock will start when the US Congress delivers H.R. 3364 to the President, which may happen in a few days.
With respect to option (2), Congress could try to override the President’s veto with a two-thirds vote of both the House of Representatives and Senate. Given that this bill passed both houses with more than two-thirds of the vote, there is a significant risk that the President’s veto of H.R. 3364 could be overridden.
With respect to option (3), H.R. 3364 would only become law without the President’s signature if Congress is still in session. If both houses of Congress are adjourned during the coming August congressional recess, then H.R. 3364 could be “pocket vetoed” (i.e., it would be effectively vetoed without the President having taken any action) and Congress would not have an opportunity to try to override the President’s pocket veto. The Senate is currently considering the possibility of not formally adjourning during the August recess, which would mean H.R. 3364 could become law without the President’s signature.
The authors are grateful for the assistance of Bruce Linskens in the preparation of this blog post.