How Many Votes Are Really Needed to Override The President's SCHIP Veto?

by Craig Jennings, 10/4/2007

There seems to be some confusion in the press over how many votes will be needed to override President Bush's veto of the SCHIP bill.

It's pretty much basic arithmetic. There are 435 members in the House. You need a 2/3rds majority of all voting members to overide a veto. So at most, 290 members will have to vote to override. That's all we know for sure.

265 members voted for the SCHIP bill the President vetoed. But 11 members didn't vote. So that means that 18 members would have to switch their votes to override the bill. Or let's say all 11 members who didn't vote decide to support it. Then 14 members will have to switch their votes. But If all of them vote against an override, that'd bring the total of members who have to switch back up to 25.

Not all members who voted against it were Republicans- 8 were Democrats. That's a big chunk of the 14-25 members who have to switch their votes to override it.

Another, albeit unlikely, situation is that the nay-voting members just don't show up to the override vote. If you assume nothing else changes, something like 25 nay-voters would have to not vote to get an override. That's probably not going to happen, but the more nay-voters who decide to not show up, the more the number of yay-voters needed for override declines.

So far, Rep. Dan Boren (R-OK) has said he'll switch his vote to override it, and Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who didn't vote, said he would vote for the override.

It may be an uphill battle, but we've got 2 weeks to change a few votes in a big House. Seems pretty doable to me.

back to Blog