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Eishaan Gakhar

GOVT 2305
Prof. Nancy Hart
06/28/2014
Essay Climate Change
Government policy is formed by a few major key players. Climate change has been a
major issue for the United States, to protect not only its citizens but also the environment and
natural resources. The congress, the president, the Supreme Court and the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) play a major role in the making and executing government policy
related to climate change.
One of the major functions of the congress is to establish legal rules that govern society.
The congress acts on bills brought up usually by the executive branch, interest groups, and
political party organizations. The constitution explicitly states that the congress has the power to
make laws. Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution provides the congress with enumerated
powers, i.e. power specifically granted to the congress by the constitution. Some of these powers
include the power to tax, regulate commerce, currency, and patents, raise an army, declare ware,
punish criminals, and establish a federal court system. Furthermore, the necessary and proper
clause provides the congress with implied powers which allow the congress to make all Laws
which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all
other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or any
Department or Officer thereof". This clause in the constitution also allows the congress to keep
the presidential powers from expanding too much.
Only after extensive discussion, and debates does a bill become a law. For a bill to
become a law, the bill is usually introduced in both the House and the Senate. From there, the
bill is referred to the House and Senate committees respectively. The bill is then sent to the
respective subcommittees for approval, discussion, hearings, and revisions. After this, the bill is
sent back to the full committee for further review, and after this, a vote on the bill is taken. When
the bill is passed by each chamber in the congress, a conference committee is held to check for
differences, and write a compromise bill. This compromise bill is then sent to the House and
Senate for approval. When approved, the bill is taken for the presidents signature. The bill
becomes a law if the president signs the bill. However, if the president vetoes the bill, the bill can
still become a law if a two-thirds majority in both chambers is obtained for the bill. Thus, the
President also plays a major role in lawmaking and law enforcing.
The president is also referred to as the chief executive. As the president, it is his duty to
enforce the laws of the congress, and the judgments of the federal courts. The president is also
the chief legislator of the nation. He can propose legislation, and use his position to get his
proposed legislation into the congress for review. As mentioned before, as the chief legislator,
the president has the power to veto a bill.
The federal courts especially the Supreme Court plays a major role in establishing law.
The Supreme Court ultimately decides how the laws and the constitution are interpreted. Case
laws play a major role in the establishment of laws. It includes judicial interpretations of
common law principles and doctrines, as well as interpretations of constitutional law,
administrative law, and statutory law. The Supreme Court hears appeals only from the federal
appellate courts, and the highest state courts. Furthermore, the Supreme Court only hears
important issues to the nation which include issues on freedom of speech, states rights,
affirmative action programs and religious freedom.
The Environmental Protection Agency also plays an important role in the issue of climate
change. The EPAs mission is to protect human health and the environment. In order to do so,
the EPA encourages for legislation that would help EPA accomplish its goal. The EPA not only
helps write laws, but also enforces them.
The EPA is responsible for regulating laws enacted by the congress related to the
environment. The EPA has been given a lot of power to create rules in order to protect the
environment. For example, in the recent cross-state pollution regulation case, the Supreme Court
upheld a rule which allowed the EPA to regulate air pollution from power plants that crosses
state lines. This was achieved by the loose interpretation of the Good Neighbor provision in the
Clean Air Act. However, a few people argue that the loose interpretation of the Act gives the
EPA too much power. Thus, the congress plays an important role in the regulation of this
administrative agency.
Republican Ed Whitfield goes on to say that EPAs aggressive regulatory expansion
should not go unchecked and that the House Energy and the Commerce Committee would do
everything in its power to keep the administration from overreaching. Furthermore, the
Congressional Review Act also helps keeping regulations in check. The Congressional Review
Act allows Congress to review "major" rules issued by federal agencies before the rules take
effect. Congress may also disapprove new rules, resulting in the rules having no force or effect.
The House is currently dominantly republican. As a result, Obama would not be able to
pass laws successfully. Instead, Obamas administration is using federal agencies such as the
EPA to pass rules and regulations to reach their goals. In some cases, these imposed rules may
go against some other laws, and in this case the Congressional Review Act can be used.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court would play a major role in deciding which rules are acceptable
in case the issue is taken to the court by the federal agency, or the opposition. So far, the loose
interpretation of the environmental acts by the Supreme Court has allowed the EPA to establish
as many rules as it wants.
The president as the chief executive helps in executing the rules laid out by the federal
agencies. Recently, Obama plans to curb emissions which include the controversial rule of
cutting carbon pollution from existing power plants; he plans to do this using his executive
powers, which sidesteps the congress. The president also plays a major role in holding talks with
other countries related to this issue. Ben Geman in his article summarizes Obamas plan for us:
Internationally, it seeks to knock down trade barriers to climate-friendly goods and
services; enhance cooperation with India, China and other big carbon emitters; and curb
U.S. support for overseas coal plant construction.
This way, the president encourages friendly talks with other nations, and simultaneously looks
into the US national interests.
I think that it would be better if the congress be in charge of making rules and regulations
for the states and the people, in order to address the issue of climate change. I believe that the
federal agency, i.e. the EPA should only be in charge of executing the laws passed by the
congress and the president. I believe that in a democracy, the people should rule the country; the
congress is a good representation of the public. People might argue that politics in the congress
will cause a never ending debate in the congress over the issue of climate change, but, in order to
obtain a better sustainable solution to climate change, legislation is of critical importance.
In the recent past, the president has shown courage to stand up where the congress has not.
Obama has used the EPA to pass rules which might have not easily passed in the congress.
Furthermore, he is using his executive power to the fullest to tackle the issue of climate change.
Not only is he tackling the issue at home, but is also taking the issue abroad to gain support from
across the world.
Obama is doing this because of political differences between the president and the
majority in the congress. However, I think it is important for the president and government to
work together for a better future for the people of the United States of America. I think that
obtaining international support is a good way for the president to force the congress to do
something about the issue, but I do not think passing numerous rules using the EPA is a good
idea.
I do not think that the issue of climate change is so important that the president should
take the lead. I think that the separation of powers should be held and that the President and the
federal agency should be checked regularly; the executive powers of the EPA and the president
should be checked by the judicial branch and the legislative branch of the government. I think
that in international issues and issues to do with the US Department of State, the president can
take the lead. For example, I believe that guns should be banned to be owned by the common
man, and that the president can use the Bureau of Arms Control to pass laws to restrict gun
ownership until a permanent legislation is passed.

Sources:
Bardes, Barbara A., Mack C. Shelley, and Steffen W. Schmidt. American Government and
Politics Today: The Essentials. 2013-2014 ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage
Learning, 2014. Print.
"Can the Congressional Review Act Bring the Obama Administration to Its Knees?" Power Line.
N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2014. <http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/can-
the-congressional-review-act-bring-the-obama-administration-to-its-knees.php>.
"Congressional Review Act (CRA) FAQs." U.S. Government Accountability Office. N.p., n.d.
Web. 27 June 2014. <http://www.gao.gov/legal/congressact/cra_faq.html>.
"Necessary and Proper Clause." LII / Legal Information Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2014.
<http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/necessary_and_proper_clause>.
"Necessary and Proper Clause." TheFreeDictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2014.
<http://legal-
dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Necessary%2Band%2BProper%2BClause>.
Online Documents for climate change



Bonus
The movie is Bedtime for Bonzo, in which a chimpanzee, named Bonzo, is Ronald
Raegans co-star. The chimpanzees professional name was Peggy.
Al Franken ran for the U.S. Senate, and, Pat Paulsen ran for President.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Justice Antonin Scalia have appeared together as extras
in an opera performance.

Sources:
http://www.npr.org/2013/07/10/200137481/scalia-v-ginsburg-supreme-court-sparring-
put-to-music
http://mentalfloss.com/article/52538/time-ronald-reagan-was-nearly-strangled-chimp
http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2008Apr30/0,4670,FrankenTaxes,00.html