Must pass bill

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A must pass bill is a measure, considered vitally important, that must be passed and enacted by the United States Congress (e.g. funding for a function of government). Because of the time-sensitive nature of these bills, they are often amended with policy provisos, or 'riders', unrelated to the principal function of the bill itself.[1] These riders can become law given the president's lack of line-item veto power.

These measures can also be exploited by the executive branch as was the case with former President Trump's border wall funding. The President claimed he would veto a spending bill that did not include $5.7 billion in border wall funding. The inability of the United States Congress to organize a bill that would have passed both chambers, with President Trump's requirements, resulted in a 35-day federal government shutdown between 2018 and 2019. In this case, the policy rider actually became a so-called poison pill as the added legislation was so controversial that it severely limited the possibility of the bill passing. [2]


  1. ^ "United States Senate Glossary - "must pass" bill". United States Senate. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Government Shutdown Inevitable As Congress Adjourns Amid Border Wall Funding Impasse". Retrieved 2019-11-14.