5 U.S. Presidents With The Most Vetoes

On April 5, 1792, George Washington cast the first presidential veto, rejecting a congressional measure for apportioning representatives among the states. Find out which five U.S. presidents wielded their veto power the most....


Franklin D. Roosevelt Holds the Record for the Number of Vetoes Franklin Roosevelt was elected to the office of the presidency a record-breaking four times, so it isn’t surprising that he holds the record for the number of vetoes issued during office. During his administration, FDR issued 635 vetoes. This included 372 regular ones and 163 pocket vetoes, and only nine were overridden. A pocket veto is when a president doesn't sign a bill within 10 days and Congress adjourns during that 10-day period. In addition, Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to read a veto aloud from the House floor during a joint session of Congress, thus demonstrating his desire to let his vigilance over Congress’s actions be known to its members.

Grover Cleveland Comes in Second on the Number of Vetoes Grover Cleveland served two terms as president, and he was the first to serve two terms that were not continuous. His presidential administrations occurred during a time known as the Gilded Age because of rapid economic growth. Vetoing bills was almost a daily affair with Cleveland, who had a total of 584 during his terms of office. The most famous veto issued by President Cleveland was one denying a subsidy of $10,000 for farmers in Texas due to severe drought, because he didn’t want people to become reliant on the government.


Harry S. Truman Was the Tax Cut Veto President Harry Truman became president toward the end of World War II, after the death of Franklin Roosevelt. He had to battle a Congress led by Republicans. During his presidency, Truman vetoed 250 pieces of legislation, which included 180 regular vetoes and 70 pocket vetoes with 12 being overridden. His vetoes tended to be for tax cuts for the wealthy at a time when the nation was on the brink of an inflation crisis.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Vetoed Bills Passed by a Democratic Congress Dwight Eisenhower was the opposite of Truman in that he was a Republican dealing with a Democratic Congress. Eisenhower had 37 years of experience in the military, but that might not have been enough for him to deal with a Democratic Congress. He used his veto privilege 181 times, with 73 regular vetoes and 108 pocket vetoes, with only two being overridden. One of his vetoes denied giving more funds toward wastewater treatment because he thought water pollution was a local issue and should be handled by the states.

Ulysses S. Grant Expanded Executive Branch Power President Ulysses S. Grant issued 93 vetoes during his term of office, which was an unprecedented number in the years immediately following the Civil War. Forty-five of the vetoes were regular ones and 48 were pocket vetoes, and only four were overridden by Congress. In the face of a devastating economic depression that started in 1873, Congress sought to add more greenbacks to the American circulation, thus increasing the amount of legal tender available to the suffering American population. However, Grant struck down the so-called Inflation Bill, an action that many historians have claimed to diminish the severity of the ensuing currency crisis of the following quarter century.