The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to override President Bush's veto of legislation broadening the rights of millions of federal workers to participate in political campaigns.
The 327-93 vote was well over the two-thirds majority needed. The House action sets up a showdown Thursday in the Senate, where a close vote is expected.The Democratic-controlled Congress has failed to override any of Bush's 11 vetoes.
Bush vetoed the bill last Friday, saying it "would inevitably lead to repoliticizing the federal work force" and destroy the neutrality of civil servants fostered by the 1939 Hatch Act.
The bill would remove prohibitions that make it illegal for an estimated 3 million federal and postal workers to attend political conventions as delegates or speak at rallies on behalf of candidates.
It would allow them for the first time to hold party offices and solicit contributions from co-workers. But it would continue to bar federal workers from taking leaves of absence to run for public office or solicit funds from the public on behalf of candidates.
More than half of the House's 176 Republicans, including GOP Leader Bob Michel of Illinois, bolted from the administration to support the veto override.