The Responsibilities of Congress and the President

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In this module we have study modifications to the way Congress and the President do business. The Constitution lists specific duties for Congress to attend to; it is a little vaguer when assigning duties to the President. It is up to both of these institutions to best determine how to accomplish these duties. The major theme of this module is change, the addition of offices under the President and the modifications to the power distribution within the Congress to help better and sometimes hinder these institutions in accomplishing their duties. The Congress of the 1950s, known as the “textbook Congress”, is quite different than the Congress of the today. Our Author notes six legislative folkways that were noted by political scientist Donald Matthews, these folkways include apprenticeship, legislative work, specialization, courtesy, institutional patriotism and reciprocity. In the passage of time and a more partisan division in both the House and Senate the folkway of apprenticeship has disappeared and institutional patriotism has seriously declined along with courtesy in both bodies. A large percentage of the latest generation of legislatures also has limited acceptance of the concept of reciprocity. “Members of Congress may well reflect the declining levels of trust and civility within the public at large.” (Loomis, Schiller p.132) Due to these changes in the folkways past Speakers of the House have determined to hold important legislation until there is enough single party support to pass that legislation, a 2004 example of this was Speaker Hastert holding up legislation on major intelligence reform, a 2010 example may be the health care reform bill. The change in public views on civility and trust as reflected by the memb... ... middle of paper ... ...s of dollars. These offices have been created to provide the President with the information he needs to guide the Congress in a legislative agenda, provide for economic growth and ensure the security of the nation. The framers of the Constitution listed the responsibilities of Congress and the President; they did not dictate how these responsibilities would be carried out. It was left to both of these institutions to change with the times and in the case of the Congress decide for themselves how to do their job. The Framers realized that things would change and they left these two institutions the ability to do what was necessary to get the job done. Works Cited Loomis, Burdett A. and Schiller, Wendy J., The Contemporary Congress. California: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. Print Pfiffner, James A., The Modern Presidency California: Thomson Wadsworth 2008. Print
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