(CNN)After signing a $1.3 trillion spending bill in late March, President Trump said he'd like the ability to line-item veto in the future. (As it stands now, he can't.) He also said he might veto the whole thing because it lacked funding for his border wall. He didn't. But since vetoes are suddenly hot, let's take a look back at the very first veto in US history, issued by President George Washington on this day in 1792.
#TBT: The very first veto
As an added treat, this story also has to do with the Census (which is also a hot topic right now) and a little document called the Constitution.
Ye Olde Constitution said that Congress had to figure out how many representatives each state should get, an apportionment based on population as determined by the Census.
You might recall that the upcoming 2020 Census and its potential impact on apportionment have been in the news lately. It was announced that a citizenship question is making a comeback on the Census form, but some people are worried that will discourage immigrants (documented and otherwise) from filling it out. That could potentially throw apportionment numbers off. So it's still important.
As much of a headache as the Census is now, imagine doing it in 1790.
Back in the 18th century ... "Hamilton" foil, noted Southerner and very real and historically important person Thomas Jefferson had some thoughts. Specifically, he took issue with the method Congress had used for apportionment. In a very long, number-filled memo that you can see in the Instagram above, then-Secretary of State Jefferson laid out his position and argued northern states were getting more representatives than they deserved.
"This representation, whether tried as between great & small states, or as between North & South, yeilds [sic], in the present instance, a tolerably just result," Jefferson wrote.
The numbers weren't as bad as they could be, but they weren't perfect and the method could be abused in the future. The South — home of both Jefferson and Washington — could stand to lose from it.
President Washington, another Southerner, was on his side. And the Constitution gave Washington the power to do something about it.
Article I, Section 7 reads: "If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it."
In a very polite shut down, Washington told Congress that he had two objections to the apportionment act. Congress didn't override the veto but instead passed another bill that was signed by the president and went into effect later that month.
If we learn anything from this piece of history, it's that if you've still got your congressional Bingo card from 1792 handy, keep holding onto it. The same issues are still very much in play.