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Is the US Congress too powerful - Essay Example

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In evaluating whether the Congress is "too powerful", it is necessary to consider what it actually does. Congress makes laws, and within the United States this "law-making" role has in fact been made difficult rather than easy. In the United States of America laws are difficult to pass for a number of reasons and in a number of ways. American law is based upon a mixture of English and French law, and the Constitution was designed to produce three co-equal branches of government that would provide checks and balances on one another (Friedman, 1998) . These checks and balances are designed to make laws difficult to pass for a good reason: it stops any one individual, political party or branch of government dominating too much.
A weak government makes for a strong people. The co-equal branches of government are designed to make laws difficult to pass. However, in a well-organized administration in which the President has a good relationship with Congress laws can be passed quite quickly and easily. But even when one particular Party has control of the Legislative and Executive branches: the House, the Senate and the Presidency, it can still be difficult to pass laws. This is shown by the difficulties that President Clinton had in 1992-1994 and President Bush has had for much his Presidency.
The making of an Ameri...
This stops what has been called "the tyranny of the majority" (Brennan, 1996). The President can also veto a bill if it does not have the support of 2/3 of both the House and Senate in order to override the bill. However, pressure put on individual members by key positions such as the Speaker of the House or the Leader of the Senate may moderate the effects of this individual power. Members of each party tend to vote with their party.
The process of moving from a Member/Senator's idea through to Bill and on to Law is deliberately set in a complex way. The Bill may be stopped at a number of hurdles, and indeed, the vast majority of Bills never make it to be laws (Sabato, 2006) Overall, a Bill may be introduced by a member of the House or Senate. It is then distributed to each member of the House.
The Speaker of the House can then give it to a Committee which will recommend that it be released with a recommendation for passing, release with revision or be set aside entirely and not considered at all. Bills introduced by the majority party tend to be taken more seriously than those form the minority. The majority of Bills that have the support of the major powers in Congress (House, Senate, Presidency) do make it to be laws - the other bills are often never intended to become laws by the Members/Senators that introduce them. In fact they are for discussion or to score political points.
The relationship between the House and Senate is designed to produce either compromise or to stop Bills making it to be a law. Bills that pass the House need to be introduced into the Senate, and there they may be adapted or changed to be something completely different in "conference committees" (Wilson, 2005). ...Show more


The United States Congress is part of a triumvirate of power that was put in place by the framers of the Constitution. The three parts of this systems are the Congress (House and Senate), the Executive in the form of the Presidency, and the Legal branch led by the Supreme Court…
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Is the US Congress too powerful
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