Presidential Action on Joint Resolution Disapproving Pay Raise

Headnotes: 

Under the Federal Salary Act of 1987, a pay raise recommended by the President becomes effective as law unless it is disapproved by a joint resolution “agreed to by the Congress” prior to the end of the 30-day period beginning when the President submits his recommendation. The Act thus requires passage of the joint resolution by both Houses of Congress, but not signature by the President, prior to the end of the period.

The Constitution requires that the joint resolution disapproving the pay raise be presented to the President, and he is entitled to the constitutionally prescribed 10-day period to consider it. If the President signs the joint resolution dunng this period, the pay raise is disapproved. If the President vetoes the joint resolution (and the veto is not overridden), the pay raise is effective.

With respect to Article III judges, the President’s approval of the joint resolution after the 30-day period does not offend the Compensation Clause or section 2 of the joint resolution, since as a practical matter no increase in pay would vest m the judges prior to the expiration of the period.

Updated July 9, 2014