Congressional Power

282 words | 1 page(s)

In the textbook excerpt, the writers assert that over the past few decades, Congress has begun to reassert its authority as an equal partner of the executive branch. For example, from 1944 to 1997 the number of actions which have resisted executive opinions or have been completely independent of them has increased and seems to continue to do so. Such a trend conveys a sense of growing empowerment on the part of Congress at best. At worst, it could signify a growing sense of antagonism and conflict of partisan politics. However, the book seems to emphasize that this is a result of independence, considering the growth of intelligence-providing agencies as well as sub-committees designed to debate issues. This trend seems to create a legislative branch that rivals the size and scope of the executive branch. In essence, both branches should be a match for their other.

Instead, the article by Ornstein and Mann paints a picture of a lazy Congress disinterested in challenging the overpowering executive branch. Compared to Congresses of the past, recent sessions have spent less time in oversight hearings and on Capitol Hill in general. Such an assertion begs to question from where the reported antagonism is coming. These statistics paint the picture of an overly opinionated, uninformed branch. Additionally, the scope of concerns seems to have become limited to nonexistent; in the past, Congress would investigate the acquisition of presidential campaign funds and now, the body barely questions scandals and war. This dynamic poses a huge problem to the country as a whole if neither branch can be motivated to work for the people’s best interest. If this is the case, perhaps the entire system needs reform and reinvigoration.

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