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Running Head: US POLITICAL SYSTEM

What is the balance between congressional and presidential power in the US political system? To
what extent, and why, does this differ from the original design?
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US POLITICAL SYSTEM

Introduction
The correlation between the congress and presidency has been, since the creation of
constitution, a complex one. The United States constitution gives the president and Congress
different responsibilities and powers, but there have long been differences about approving
certain orders (Mancini 2015). In fact, the separation of powers between presidency and congress
forms the foundation of the constitutional outline projected by the founding fathers to make sure
that a government is formed with no group or individual too superior. The characteristic tension
between one branch scripting budgets and laws and the other branch implementing laws and
expending the money has always been a key feature of American government (Groves 2010
163). This particular essay is meant to discuss the balance between congressional and
presidential power in the United States political system. The discussion will also explain the
extent at which this balance differ from the original design as well as the reasons behind this.
Balance between congressional and presidential power in the US political system
The American government system is divided into three major branches, which include
legislative, executive and judiciary. The role of legislative is to make laws while Executive
branch is responsible to execute the law. On the other hand, judiciary is accountable to interpret
the law. Even though vast disputes have arose when vetoes have been overruled or nominees
have been rejected, these cases are very rare. The main objective of establishing such system was
to keep the three branches of government in balance (Samuelson 2014). While there have been
times when one branch has become more powerful, generally, the three branches have
accomplished an effective balance with no one branch wholly possessing the government power.
United States congress is made up of two parts: House of Representatives and the US senate.
However, every part of congress has its own power. It is important to note that the US

US POLITICAL SYSTEM

constitution which comprises of 7 articles and 21 amendments, also describes the congress as the
first component (Harris, Richard and Daniel 2010). Congress mainly focuses on decisions for
president, which then president approve them. The congress was assigned all powers to initiate
offensive war or power to declare war. In fact, congress can override the presidents veto.
On the other side, the presidency has been termed the most influential office of executive
power in the world, yet in numerous respects it is also one of the most constrained branch of the
government (Anderson 2010). The president has various responsibilities to convince congress to
work towards his projected policy goals. He can participate in the reelection campaign of a
member of congress as well as giving them right to use the information on policy talks, inviting
members of congress to white house and proving them a privilege to travel with president. In
general, the more of president have to ask of congress, the more he may have to use his
legislative resources to acquire it (Harris, Richard and Daniel 2010). The president is provided
with huge amount of attention in news in contradiction to congress because he is the most
trustworthy voice in politics. Basically, the United States constitution allows the president to
wage wars as commander in chief while congress has the authority to declare wars as well as
funding those wars (Dunne, 2008 1250).
Presidency seeks to influence or determine course of action. Upon election, presidents
present their office objectives, expectation and goals for public policy. To achieve these policy
goals and expectations, they have to work with Congress. It is worth to note that Congress
controls the budget and laws, hence the president has to find a way to cooperate with Congress
so that he can achieve virtually any goal. In a similar way, the president has veto power over
lawmaking and is the head of government, therefore Congress has also to cooperate with the
president to avoid disputes and wastage of time. Cooperation and compromise may be necessary

US POLITICAL SYSTEM

as a tool for utilitarian balance, but that does not mean that it is the inclination of either
presidency or Congress (Posner and Vermeule 2013 1764). In most cases, this utilitarian
interdependence neither results in presidency nor Congress succeeding in accomplishing all they
need. The spirit of compromise is that either branch gives in or hand over on some of their
responsibilities in order for the final product to represent something equal which both parties has
come to an agreement.
To what extent it differ from the original design
In nineteenth century, congress was alleged as defender of the status quo and had
provisions to modify issues such as labor, commerce, slavery, democratic advocates naturally
turned their attention and their support to presidency. Judging from the conduct of Congress in
recent years, balance of power seem to be experiencing a persistent identity crisis. Separation of
powers was a political framework developed by the constitution to be followed for the greater
part of our political history (Matsusaka, 2005). Progressively, however, it is not the original
design the federal government was meant to operate and as departures from the constitutions
plan develop more frequent, a long-lasting change of the United States political system becomes
more likely. As the formal balance between congressional and presidential power in the
constitution remains, and in some cases endures to function well, the current distribution of
powers has evolved dramatically compared to the original design (Zucker 2016 17).
Most significantly, the current congress has become progressively administrative and
active, the presidency more tentative and legislative. Under these circumstances, it is the
Congresss power that have extensively developed at the clear expense of Presidents. Basically,
Congress has at all the time looked over the executives roles, sometimes less, sometimes more
and indefinite contributions of power to regulatory organizations have been collective compared

US POLITICAL SYSTEM

to nineteenth century (OLessker, 1982). The extent at which Congress power has changed is its
role as legislator, which is subordinated to its responsibilities as administrator of the executive
branch. In this case, the congressional involvement in administrative affairs has increased
substantially due to the huge array of federal programs to be administered and a diversity of
subcommittees to do the administering. This has resulted the current Congress to invest more
exerts and energy, more power in playing overseer, regulator, and investigator than in
discharging its obligation as lawmaker (Harris, Richard and Daniel 2010).
Why does this differ from the original design?
The key reason why the balance between congressional and presidential power in the US
political system differ from the original design is because of the size and the creation of
procedures intended to provide internal checks and balances. Noticeably, as the country develop
politically, the number of members of Congress escalate with it, thus the growth in size makes
the Congress to alter its powers. Party polarization has also played a major role in altering the
balance between congressional and presidential power. This is a measure of the political distance
between Republicans and Democrats, as it has reached its uppermost level since the constitution
was created. Democrats are more liberal, Republicans are more conservative, and only a small
number of legislators from either party are moderates (Zucker 2016 23).
While the political difference between policymakers broaden, legislators are finding it
difficult to resolve common two-party alliances. As a result, the Congress is weakened, thus
passing only few laws and does not fully uphold its responsibility to legislate for the expectations
of the people it represents. The congress is attempting to institute a system of checks and
balances within legislative, unlike the original system of checks and balances that existed. The
current Congress has organized itself according to functional areas of role, for instance tax

US POLITICAL SYSTEM

issues, national defense and agriculture (Zietara 2012 118). Diverse members of Congress
comprise different motives and at other times, they use their power to gain a focal point that is
based on certain interests and discussion of a subject matter. To counter the essence of political
interests in the Congress, there have been alterations of congress power from the original design.
Conclusion
Conclusively, United States constitution gives the president and Congress different
responsibilities and powers, but there have long been differences about approving certain orders.
The balance between congressional and presidential power in the US political system has
drastically changed. Based on the changes, the Congresss powers have extensively developed at
the net expense of Presidency. This means that the actual way in which the offices of the
Presidency and Congress were meant to function has completely changed. American people may
lack faith in the current political system, because the members of congress, who represent the
interests of citizen, are not fully upholding its responsibility to legislate laws.

US POLITICAL SYSTEM

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