Congress signs bills

How does the president get last-minute bills when Congress passes them just minutes before a deadline?

The US Capitol is really not that far from the White House. They are on the same street and less than three kilometers apart. According to Google Maps, it's about 8 minutes by car. In urgent national emergencies where the bill is before midnight must be signed (like the Don't Nuke Russia At Midnight Act of 2018), the police blocking traffic and a Secret Service car with sirens could be done in under five minutes. At that point it could be brought to the president - easily under 10 minutes for the whole thing.

However, when it is that bad, there is nothing in the constitution that obliges the president to sign laws in the White House. The President is perfectly capable of going to the Capitol, where he, the Speaker of the House, and the Vice President or President of the Senate can stand together to sign the law. If the registered invoice needs to be printed after it has been submitted (and not preprinted), the GPO can move a printer to the Capitol (or at least one probably already exists). The bill could be printed once passed and briefly reviewed by the required people, signed by the required people (the vice-president, spokesman, and clerk of the house from which it came), and then signed by the president.

There are a few reasons this really isn't a huge problem. First, as mentioned earlier, an invoice could potentially go from final handover to registration in less than five minutes. Second, it's incredibly rare for a ten or twenty minute delay in a law to be such a big deal. If it's really disastrous would, if it does not go away, it is much less likely to approach the deadline. While it may be controversial what the exact bill should say, Congress is generally poised to pass a stopgap solution in which things go on as they are for a short period of time while we pull ourselves together. But almost no federal law is ever so critical that it even goes into effect twenty minutes after a certain deadline.


That makes sense. In my experience, there are certainly printing works in the Capitol, and the registered invoices are actually created before the crossing.


I guess When I know how people work, that if the President said he would sign a certain time sensitive bill, it would be treated as a signature for a few hours. Possibly until the next morning, although the media would complain about it. Does it open up the potential for a constitutional challenge? Maybe when someone has to stand to show that those few hours somehow hurt them. But the people who may or may not be involved in the execution will likely give some leeway to the act by virtue of their express intention.


And there is a subway between the capital and the White House.