Study sets, textbooks, questions
Upgrade to remove ads
Politics of the United States
The Presidency: Relations with Congress
The president's relationship with both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Terms in this set (10)
How do the president and Congress interact?
Almost every power that the president possesses is checked by Congress. The president, therefore, needs Congress's agreement. But in a system of 'separated institutions, sharing powers' (Richard Neustadt), this is by no means easy. And party links do not help much either. The president and the majority of Congress may be of different parties, as was the case during the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency (2007-2008), with a Republican president but the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress.
Is this relationship better if the president and Congress are controlled by the same party?
Even when the two branches are controlled by the same party, this is no guarantee of action - witness the difficulties Bill Clinton experienced in his failed attempt to pass his healthcare reforms in 1993-1994. As Neustadt has stated: "What the Constitution separates, the political parties do not combine".
Why does the president need this relationship to be successful?
The president needs Congress. Without it, he can do little or nothing. This is all part of the intricate system of 'checks and balances' devised by the Founding Fathers. Professor S. E. Finer has likened the president and Congress to, "two halves of a banknote, each useless without the other". And the Founding Fathers' desire for cooperation and compromise ("ambition must counteract ambition", as James Madison put it) often leads to gridlock.
How does Congress check the power of the president?
1) The president can propose legislation; Congress can amend and block legislation.
2) The president can submit the annual budget; Congress can amend and block the budget.
3) The president can veto legislation; Congress can override the veto.
4) The president can nominate executive officials; the Senate has the power of confirmation.
5) The president can nominate federal judges; the Senate has the power of confirmation.
6) The president can negotiate treaties; the Senate has the power of ratification.
7) The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces; Congress must declare war and has the power of the purse.
8) The president acts as chief executive; Congress has powers of investigation, impeachment, trial and removal.
Thus, presidents cannot rely on formal powers alone to get what they want. They must also use informal powers of persuasion. As Richard Neustadt succinctly puts it: "The president's power is the power to persuade".
What is Harry Truman attributed with saying about the power of the president?
"I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them... That's all the powers of the president amount to", famously commented a frustrated Harry Truman. But Truman was right.
How does the president use powers of persuasion through people?
The president, if he is to be a successful persuader, must work through a number of other people. He cannot - nor should he try to - do it all himself. He uses:
1) the vice-president: as presiding officer of the Senate, he has a foothold in Congress (All of the last six vice-presidents have formerly been members of Congress, which also helps).
2) his own Office of Legislative Affairs: this is part of the WHO and those who work here act as full-time lobbyists for the president in Congress.
3) cabinet officers: these work in their own policy-related area.
4) party leaders in Congress, including the House Speaker, Majority and Minority Leaders in both houses, whips, committee chairs and ranking minority members
How does the president use powers of persuasion through perks?
This works hand-in-hand with the people mentioned above. The president may:
1) make phone calls to selected members of Congress.
2) offer help with legislation that benefits members' constituents.
3) offer help with federal executive/judicial appointments of interest to constituents.
4) invite members to a meeting at the White House.
5) go to Capitol Hill to address a selected group of members.
6) offer to campaign for members of his own party.
If all else fails, the president can go on national television to appeal directly to the people. This is what President Johnson called. "putting Congress's feet to the fire".
What are the results of presidential persuasion?
David Mervin has described the president's relationship with Congress as being 'bargainer-in-chief' - and he is. But after all is said and done, the president will be hoping that it will result in his legislation being passed, his appointments confirmed and his treaties ratified.
How is the president's success rate measured?
The president's success rate is measured each year in what is called the presidential support score. This annual statistic measures how often the president won in roll-call votes in the House and Senate in which he took a clear position, expressed as a percentage of the whole. In 2009, President Obama had a support score of 96.7% - the highest ever recorded. In 2007, George W. Bush's support score was just 38%.
How reliable is the presidential support score?
Although the presidential support score is a useful guide to presidential success, keep in mind that:
1) the score does not measure the importance of votes.
2) presidents can avoid low scores simply by not taking positions on votes they expect to lose.
3) the score does not count bills which fail even to come to a vote on the floor of either house (such as Bill Clinton's healthcare reform bill, that never came to a vote in either house in 1994 and therefore did not feature in the 86% support score recorded that year).
Sets found in the same folder
The Presidency: The Powers of the President
The Presidency: The Cabinet
The Presidency: The Executive Office of the Presid…
The Presidency: Relations with the Supreme Court
Sets with similar terms
AP Gov: Chapter 13 Multiple Choice Questions
The Presidency AP Government Wilson Chapter 12
ch 14 The Presidency AP Government
ch 14 The Presidency AP Government
Other sets by this creator
Personal injury legal glossary (definitions)
Personal injury legal glossary (abbreviations)
Mens Rea: Recklessness
Other Quizlet sets
Genetics Final Exam
Understanding The Brain [Week 2]
Memorize personal Scriptures
MTC Health Insurance
.The federal debt was the most critical problem facing America in the 1790s.
when Washington post reporters Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein broke the story of the water gate scandal in the 1970's, what role of the press were they fulfilling?
When the Supreme Court declares a law as unconstitutional, we have an example of...
How many bills are introduced to congress floors each year?