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Sunny2's avatar

Does the president use one pen per letter when signing a landmark bill?

Asked by Sunny2 (18758points) April 25th, 2012

I was wondering when signing a bill with multiple pens, so people involved could get a souvenir, started. Obviously they didn’t use multiple quill pens in the 1700’s. And do they use one pen per letter so Gerald Ford would have had 10 pens to hand out and Dwight D. Eisenhower, 18, counting the period?

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ETpro's avatar

The tradition goes back at least to Harry Truman. How many are used for a given bill is a function of what legislators were instrumental in pushing the bill through Congress. President Obama used 22 actually, writing just a portion of a letter with one pen before changing to another, when he signed the Affordable Health Care Act into law. Here’s some history on the presidential pen practice.

Sunny2's avatar

@ETpro Thank you very much!

ETpro's avatar

@Sunny2 You’re welcome.

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