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National Archives

WHORM - Legislation (LE)

(8.4 linear feet; boxes 1-21)

A primary category containing information pertaining to federal legislative programs, private relief bills, the general subject of legislation, and legislative matters such as voting records of members of Congress, lobbying, vetoes, and filibustering. Although this series does contain many copies of legislation, it does not contain a full and complete run of legislation received at the White House for signature or veto by the President. Bills may be found in the files of the Executive Secretariat Ron Geisler. Legislation included or discussed at length in this series include the Head Start Supplemental Authorization Act of 1989; the Whistle Blower Protection Act of 1989; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992; the Flag Protection Act of 1989; the Americans With Disabilities Act; and the National Voter Registration Act of 1990. Perhaps the single most discussed issue within the entire series is the Presidential line item veto.

DESCRIPTION OF SECONDARY FILE CODES

LE Legislation (6.2 ft.; boxes 1-15)

This secondary file code consists of letters, reports, memoranda, enrolled bills, mail summaries, and testimony. Letters from the general public, members of Congress, business leaders, and special interest groups generally concern particular issues pending before Congress and often recommend a Presidential veto if legislation reaches the President. Routine responses from White House or cabinet staff generally accompany these letters. Perhaps the most important items in the entire series are the Weekly Legislative Reports filed by Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Frederick McClure and later by his successor Nicholas Calio. These reports contain detailed information about Congressional activity, including the dates when legislation will be brought to the floor; cabinet members who will be testifying before Congress; and topics which will be discussed at meeting between the President and members of Congress. These reports trace the course of both administration supported bills and opposition legislation through Congress and were read weekly by the President as evidenced by his signature and comments on each draft. Often attached to the reports are summaries of mail received from members of Congress. Closely related to the Weekly Legislative Report sent to the President are the legislative reports sent to the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs by each cabinet department legislative affairs office. These reports from such departments as Housing, Defense, Interior, State, and Commerce were used to compile the general weekly report to the President, and they provide detailed information about the legislative activities in each department. General reports within the series document the number of bills received by the White House annually with a description of each bill and a list of bills vetoes by the President. Other reports document key votes taken by members of Congress, as well as an analysis of each member's support for the President's positions. A particularly important report is the Legislative Issues Update which outlines each major issue of concern to the administration; provides the current status of legislation regarding each issue; and offers an outlook for future legislation relating to each issue. Memoranda in the series from White House staff members documents White House response to proposed legislation and bills received by the President for signature or veto. Memoranda from Richard Darman are often in the form of an outline of a particular bill and a notation of whether the President should sign it or not. Additional memoranda such as Statements of Administration Policy include Senior Advisors Veto Threats and contain detailed information about the administration's views on particular legislation. Copies of enrolled bills often with minor editorial annotations are also included.

LE001 Private Relief Bills (.1 ft.; box 16)

A small secondary subject category, LE001 contains letters and memoranda concerning private relief bills passed by Congress and presented to the President for his signature or veto. Often these relief bills concern claims against the United States government by U.S. citizens. Generally, a memorandum accompanies each private relief bill and provides an outline of the case under consideration as well as a recommendation to the President on whether to sign or veto the bill.

LE002 Vetoes and Repeals (2.1 ft.; boxes 16-21)

This secondary subject code contains letters, memoranda, enrolled bills, and miscellaneous printed materials. The vast majority of letters and memoranda in this series include information about the Presidential line item veto. The issue is discussed in some detail by legal scholars who believe that the President is vested with inherent line item veto power. Often attached to letters are copies of law review articles or editorials relating to the President's veto power. Memos to and from the President's legal counsel and White House staff discuss the inherent line item veto argument. Also discussed in some detail is the Presidential pocket veto. A large segment of this subcategory consists of copies of enrolled bills along with Statements of Administration Policy which include Senior Advisors Veto Threats.

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