Levels: President of the United States and Congress Essay

Submitted By milo932
Words: 598
Pages: 3

Congress often fails to limit presidential power in conducting foreign policy. Why is this the case?

As most members of government will acknowledge, congress acts reluctantly if at all. Furthermore, when it comes into conflict with the executive branch, particularly with regards to foreign policy, congress all too often succumbs to the executive. At a time of increasing concern over the concentration of power in the Presidency, the incapacity of congress to act as a check on the President is becoming more apparent. This essay will argue the reasons why congress often fails to limit presidential power in conducting foreign policy. First off, congress is re-elected every two years, congressional members therefore focus on salient constituent issues such as job creation, econimic development infrastructure projects, and other matters which provide constituents with immediate tangible benefits within their congressional district to increase their prospect of re-election, therefore there is a lack of interest in foreign policy. Second, because U.S. foreign policy is consumed with fighting terrorism, which is a very popular policy issue amongst U.S. media and citizens, congress would not oppose it. Third, the President of the United States is Commander in Chief of the Department of National Defense and the military executes the foreign policy, therefore the military is a very powerful influencer in U.S. foreign policy. Finally, Congress has no power over negotiations of international trade deals, which is done by the White House. They only ratify important treaties signed by the administration. It is a common conception that because senators and representatives as a whole tend to focus more on domestic issues, just as their constituents do, many give limited thought to foreign affairs except when a vote is pending or a crisis breaks. Congress is quick to pass bills that give tangible benefits (highways, dams, post offices) to constituents in the hope of winning their votes in return – but slow to tackle complex and controversial questions of foreign policy.[1] Essentially, a congress tends to be made up of people who think of themselves as independent representatives of their districts or states, and who while willing to support their party on many matters, expect to vote as their (or their constituents’) beliefs and interests require. There are many arguments based on the central assumption that members of Congress are single-minded seekers of reelection, Congress members necessarily emphasize position-taking,…