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Ukrainian American Bar Association

ROBERT McCONNELL: The Ukraine Freedom Support Act - What still needs to be done!

12 Dec 2014 7:47 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

ROBERT McCONNELL:  The Ukraine Freedom Support Act - What still needs to be done! 


The Ukraine Freedom Support Act, H.R. 5859, either has or will been approved by the United States Senate before the 113th Congress ends today or over the weekend.  Once that happens the final copy of the legislation will be enrolled (signed by appropriate House and Senate officials) and submitted to the president for signature.  Once the enrolled bill is received by the White House we want to make sure the President signs H.R. 5859 into law.  You are urged to call, write, email, fax the White House urging the President to sign.  You can and should do this immediately.


Contacting the White House:

By telephone: Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414


And/or call the Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs, Katherine Beirne, at 202-456-2230


You can email the White House by going to the White House website www.whitehouse.gov click on "participate" and you will see a path for an email connection; or email the President's Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, dmcdonough@who.eop.gov     


To be clear, once the legislation is received at the White House the President has several options, he can sign the bill into law, he can veto the legislation and return in to Congress together with the reasons for his veto, or he can simply not do anything.  If he vetoes the bill he has to return the bill with his veto message to Congress within 10 days if Congress is still in session and Congress has an opportunity to override the veto.  If Congress is not in session the President can simply not do anything and the bill is vetoed by what is known as a pocket veto.  If he does nothing and Congress remains in Session after ten business days the legislation will become law without the President's signature.  It is expected that even though the 113th Congress will complete its work today or over the weekend, it will not adjourn sine die and will stay in pro forma session until the 114th Congress begins in January.  This has become a Congressional practice so that presidents cannot  pocket veto legislation.  But we want H.R. 5059 to be signed into law and we want the White House to know how important we believe this legislation to be.  Indeed, we want to build on the momentum associated with the passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act and carry it forward into pursuit of additional and vital support for Ukraine in the next Congress. 

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