The Power Lies With Congress, Not the President

The President’s power lies in their ability to persuade the American public and the legislative branch to adhere to their proposed initiatives while they lead the country for the entirety of their term. Although checks and balances, the system clearly defined in the Constitution to make sure one, governing individual only has a certain amount of attainable power, the President still has loopholes in which they can enable action that greatly changes certain aspects of the government.

The system of checks and balances currently inhibits the President’s legislation more than it helps. The President is only capable of so much if the governing body that largely initiates change, Congress, does not agree with the President’s choices. An example of Congress largely not agreeing with the methods of the current President, and therefore hindering the process of productive legislation being doled out, would be the two terms President Obama served in office.
President Obama, a democrat, has been greatly affected by the notion that majority of the Congress serving beneath him is Republican. From the defunding of Planned Parenthood to gun rights laws, the two governing entities have rarely agreed on subjects, particularly involving states’ rights over legislation involving the entire country as a single body. President Obama’s eight years in office will likely be remembered for the constant vetoes he has had to administer  when Congress enabled something that wasn’t aligned with his goals. Perhaps the greatest thing President Obama’s terms will be known for was shining the light on a glaring hole in the idealistic belief of checks and balances, and the divisiveness between the Democratic and Republican party.
Bipartisan legislative and executive branches rarely work in accordance with each other. Of course, since their ideologies and beliefs in regards to policies that benefit the American people are vastly different, the lack of progress involved with those types of misaligned groups, shouldn’t be a surprising result to anyone who understands where the true power lies, as defined by the Constitution. The Republican party has continued to run Congress, and electing someone from the Democratic party for President solely reveals the cyclical nature of the Republican party’s motives hindering the President from providing solutions that reflect their goals prior to becoming elected.20141115_usd001_0
In American government, there is a constant tug-of-war between Congress and the President. There are many times when the President appears powerless to the American public when Congress makes a unanimous decision on something, and the only thing the President can do is merely veto and voice his opinion through various news outlets. It appears that the person who media and misinformation portray as a powerful, all-knowing ruler is pleading with a people who can only play spectator to the constant battle between the two, dueling parties.
The idea of the President being a figurehead, particularly during the presidential terms when the President hails from the same party that largely rules Congress, stems from lack of action, and the furtherment of Congress’ hold on influence and power. The Founding Fathers provided roadblocks to prevent America from ever having a tyrannical king again. However, they did not prepare for the bipartisan tussle, and the constantly recurring theme of certain government institutions being ruled solely by one party.
Perhaps it was not only the President who needed their power clearly defined. The notion of a single individual ruling the country, and never leaving power except through death, disappeared once the country expanded its role in global influence and partnership. As America withdrew from being an isolated state, the two parties came to the forefront of domination and power. It wasn’t a person anymore, but a group of people, that concerned Americans now had to worry about. If anything, President Obama’s final vetoes and press conferences talking about the woes of Congress hindering his proposed actions, showcases that, Congress needs their drawbacks, too. The next presidency will heighten, if not solely be centered around this problem.





About SaintsGOV16
We are students in Dr. Ostroff's sections of U.S. Government at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas. (

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