Case files on both public and private bills passed by Congress and sent to President for signature or veto. The case files contain recommendations from the agencies interested in the legislation, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Council, and the White House staff along with summaries of the bills and draft signing or veto statements.
28 linear feet (ca. 56,000 pages)
Gerald R. Ford (accession numbers 77-112 and 78-25)
Open. Some items are temporarily restricted under terms of the donor's deed of gift, a copy of which is available on request, or under National Archives and Records Administration general restrictions (36 CFR 1256).
Gerald Ford donated to the United States of America his copyrights in all of his unpublished writings in National Archives collections. The copyrights to materials written by other individuals or organizations are presumed to remain with them. Works prepared by U.S. Government employees as part of their official duties are in the public domain.
Prepared by Paul Conway, August 1981
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SUMMARY OF FORD ACTION ON CLEARED LEGISLATION
Public Bills and Joint Resolutions Signed
- 1974 - 278
- 1975 - 201
- 1976 - 379
- Total - 858
Private Bills Signed
- 1974 - 35
- 1975 - 27
- 1976 - 115
- Total - 177
Public Bills Vetoed
- 1974 - 24 (4 Overridden by Congress)
- 1975 - 17 (4 Overridden by Congress)
- 1976 - 20 (4 Overridden by Congress)
- Total - 62 (12 Overridden by Congress)
Private Bills Vetoed
- 1974 - 3
- 1975 - 0
- 1976 - 2
- Total - 5 (None overridden by Congress)
The legislation case files document the central clearance procedure on legislation sent to the President for signature or veto. Thomas M. Jones, Chief of Records, maintained these files in the Records Office, one of the permanent operating offices that provided routine administrative support for the White House. Robert D. Linder, White House Chief Executive Clerk since 1971, directed the permanent operating offices. One of Linder's responsibilities was to begin the clearance procedure that provided the President with recommendations on enrolled legislation and to assure that the record of his decisions was preserved.
Most enrolled bills and joint resolutions requiring the President's action passed through a standard clearance procedure in the White House. The Executive Clerk first requested the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to obtain comments and recommendations from concerned federal agencies. The OMB forwarded these written comments to the White House along with a summary of the main features of the legislation, related congressional documents, and a recommended decision. This was the "bill report" upon which other comments were based. The White House Staff Secretary circulated the bill report to appropriate White House offices for their comments, especially the staff of the Domestic Council or the National Security Council. The Staff Secretary also requested the Editorial Office to draft press statements for possible release. Finally , he submitted the complete package to the President, including the official parchment copies of the legislation. After James Canon became Executive Director of the Domestic Council in February 1975, he provided the President with a cover memorandum for each measure, further summarizing its key features and the recommended decisions.
The President had three possible choices with any legislation passed during a regular session of Congress. He either signed the measure, allowed it to become law without his signature after ten days, or vetoed it by returning the legislation to Capitol Hill. Measures vetoed during the regular session could still become law if a two‑thirds majority of the House and the Senate voted to override the President's decision. If he took no action on a measure passed at the end of a session of Congress, it did not become law, instead, it was "pocket vetoed",with no possibility of Congressional override.
The legislation case files in the Ford Library contain material on President Ford's decisions on every public and private enrolled bill or joint resolution passed by the Congress and sent to him for action, including those he vetoed or pocket vetoed. A typical file includes: a text of the measure; House and Senate reports; the OMB bill report and federal agency recommendations; press releases; and a covering memorandum from the Domestic Council Executive Director. President Ford's decision is often indicated by his initials on OMB or Domestic Council memoranda. Many files, especially vetoed measures, contain draft statements and press releases and additional documentation of the White House clearance procedure. Case files for a few of the most controversial pieces of legislation, such as the Tax Reduction Act of 1975 and the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, are incomplete because they did not follow the standard clearance procedure. The files are arranged in chronological order by date of action by the President and thereunder in the following order: Senate bills, Senate joint resolutions, House bills, House joint resolutions.
Related materials include: various Domestic Council staff files; the White Central Files Subject File, especially the Legislation (LG) and Speeches (SP) categories; and in the files of White House staff involved in the clearance procedure. Other files, particularly those from the Congressional Relations Office, document White House liaison with the Congress, the background on specific legislation, and other aspects of President Ford's legislative strategy that preceded his decisions on enrolled legislation.
The National Archives received the original parchment copy of all legislation approved by President Ford. They are currently preserved in Record Group 11, General Records of the United States. The Congress received all original veto messages, along with the rejected legislation.
Note - Annual reports of various federal agencies were also kept by the White House Records Office. They have been transferred to the Ford Library book collection, but a list of them is filed at the front of box 1.
Legislation Case Files, 1974-77.
(Boxes 1‑70, 28.0 linear feet)
Case files on both public and private bills passed by Congress and sent to President Ford for his signature or veto. The case files contain recommendations from the agencies interested in the legislation, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Council, and the White House staff along with summaries of the bills, draft signing or veto statements, and published congressional reports.
Arranged chronologically by date of action by the President and thereunder in the following order: Senate bills, Senate joint resolutions, House bills, and House joint resolutions.