This paper seeks to discuss the relationship between the US President and Congress. It will also answer the following questions: Why does each need the other? What conditions affect the success of the president with Congress and Congress with the president?
This paper takes the position that the Office of the President of the United States (which may just be referred to in this paper as the President) and the Congress are independent offices under the principle of the separation of powers. Under the principle, there is three separate power of the state that must be exercised independently since their undue dependence could subject the abuse of state powers. These three powers include the executive power, the legislative power, and judicial power which are exercised by the executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch respectively. The President belongs to the executive branch and therefore has exercised the executive power. The Congress of the US which consists of the lower house and upper house is the legislative branch and exercises the legislative. The Supreme Court and other lower is the judiciary branch which exercises the judicial power. The principle of separation of powers, therefore, requires that each of the state powers should perform their functions independently. If the President minds the legislative power while he is president, he could be accused of encroaching on Congress. In the same way, Congress cannot also encroach by executing the law since the legislative function is merely limited to lawmaking. In case of conflict between the two, it is the Supreme Court that will declare who is right as judicial power entails interpreting the law that was passed by Congress.
The separation of powers
The separation of powers among the different branches does not mean that they do not need each other. The President needs Congress to pass into the laws matters that are within the legislative agenda of the executive branch. The legislative agenda of course refers to needed laws to keep the programs of the executive branch moving. To illustrate in the case of President Bush, if President Bush wants more soldiers to be assigned to Iraq, such a program needs to be funded. Since the Office of the President submits a budget for approval by Congress, then the President would need Congress to approve the appropriation law. The appropriation law is in effect an authorization to disburse public funds including the salaries of soldiers that will be sent to Iraq. Before Congress, however, approves the proposed budget from the executive branch, it can reduce the amount proposed by the Office of the President but it cannot increase the same. Necessarily therefore the need for each other is very much evident since Congress cannot make an appropriation law without the proposed list of revenues and expenditure from the Office of the President. On the other hand, the President cannot implement revenue laws and government projects that require disbursement of public funds without the law on appropriation made by Congress. It may then be observed that the US Constitution has divided the work of the different branches of government by dividing the power among each department to prevent encroachment from one another but it has also required the working together with this department by making it sure that each department will do its assigned work under the Constitution.
Observant readers may then see how the President and Congress need each other. It is in doing their respective work that one needs each other. It is not in doing what the other is supposed to do that makes the two need each other but in performing the assignment of each department. What was described as a way where the two could work together is not only in the appropriation law of budget but in almost all things where each of the departments must be working its own rule. Since laws are not limited to appropriation laws where it was seen that there is a need to help each other by performing each other’s functions, the two departments are helping each other the moment Congress is making laws that are to implemented by the President and his Cabinet.
After establishing the fact of one helping each other, it may now be asked: What conditions affect the success of the president with Congress and Congress with the president? The answer of course to the question is what was made applicable in illustrating the need for each other, The conditions there that would affect the success of the President with Congress and Congress with the president is the faithful and honest performance of each other’s duty as assigned to them under the US Constitution. Doing the opposite or in deviation of this simple truth will simply strike in face of the person thinking of violating the same. Put the two powers – executive and legislative to the President and make his or her dictator while putting two powers also to Congress will be a formula for creating a lame-duck president. Of course, there are cases these departments will have to misunderstand or fight r because of refusal by one department to perform correctly its assigned task assigned in the Constitution
It may be concluded that this paper has sought to discuss the relationship between the US President and Congress by knowing the reason for their need for each other while also being assigned as independent persons. This paper was able to demonstrate using the President’s proposed budget as the basis of the appropriation law. This paper was able to demonstrate with clear evidence they each department has its assignment to do under the circumstances and needing each other does not mean encroaching on each other but doing what was assigned as role and function under the Constitution with fear or favor against the other. The work of the three departments that includes the executive as represented by the Office of President and Cabinet, the legislative as represented by the House of Representative and Senate of the United States, and the judiciary as represented by the Supreme Court and the other lower courts can only describe as working under a shape of a triangle. In other words, Congress makes the laws, the President implements those laws but in case of conflict, the Supreme Court interprets the law.
Cornell University Law School (n.d. ) The United States Constitution, 2007.