President's relationship with Congress

President’s Relationship with Congress

  • The US President and Congress share a system of checks and balances, ensuring that neither the legislative nor the executive branch of government become too powerful.
  • The President has the power to veto legislation passed by Congress. However, Congress can override a veto with a two-thirds majority in both houses.
  • The President has the responsibility to implement and enforce the laws written by Congress and also makes the nation’s laws public.
  • While the President can propose legislation, it is up to Congress to pass these laws. This means the President often needs to engage in negotiation and compromise with Congress.

Power of the Purse

  • Congress controls the nation’s public coffers and has the power of the purse. The President, even though they propose the federal budget, requires congressional approval to fund his policies.
  • The power of the purse allows Congress to check the President’s power. For instance, the refusal of Congress to fund the President’s directives can effectively halt a policy.

War Powers

  • As per the Constitution, the power to declare war is given to Congress. However, the President has the authority to direct military forces.
  • The War Powers Act of 1973 requires the President to inform Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to combat and forbids forces from remaining active for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war. This is to prevent extended military engagements without congressional approval.

Role in Legislation

  • The President can influence Congress with the State of the Union Address, which lays out their legislative agenda for the coming year. This is an opportunity to sway legislative priorities.
  • Congressional support can depend on factors such as the President’s popularity, relations between party leaders, and partisan control of Congress.
  • Congress members might align with the President’s policies if they are from the same party or if it could benefit their own re-election chances.

Congressional Oversight

  • The Constitution allows Congress to conduct investigations into the conduct of the executive branch, a power often delegated to congressional committees. This capability to oversee, review and investigate the President’s actions and policies is known as Congressional Oversight.
  • Congressional oversight can be seen as a check on the President’s power, ensuring transparency and accountability in the executive actions. It has been used in significant investigations, such as the Watergate scandal under President Nixon and the impeachment inquiries into President Clinton and President Trump.