Political Conflicts in Washington

Political Conflicts in Washington

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Political conflicts regarding oversight are becoming a common occurrence in Washington, but have you stepped back and analyzed why this is? These unnecessary strangle hold on the democratic process are due to a few common practices, party politics, a deference to the Executive Branch, and prioritizing voter concerns with wasteful government spending. Some cause more problems than others, but overall these are the three biggest causes. Party politics prevents Congressmen and Senators alike from rearing off the path of their political party stance. We also see voters own ignorance as a big part of the government waste problem. Many like to complain about problems in our laws, but then are supportive of the laws when they go through Congress. This makes it very easy to pass laws with waste because they know the general population most of the time will let it slide. If your party holds the presidency, but that president does something that is unconstitutional that party will most likely stand its ground supporting the president. While the Executive Branch is an office that deserves respect, respect cannot get in the way of the Constitution and the laws of the land. No one is above the law, especially people in high office if anything they should be held more accountable due to their importance in American life. Congressional oversight is a major part of the checks and balances system, and if these major problems continue to occur we will see more and more people abuse the American democratic process.
As long as there has been a two party system there has been party politics. This phenomena by definition is a Congressmen (Be him or her Democrat or Republican) is so loyal to the party that they will vote for those bills, or resolutions, or whatever just because their party supports it. This becomes problematic when you want to express what is best for your constituents, but may not be what the party is pushing for. This makes a very lazy Congress no matter the party, bills can go through that are not what are best for his or her distract but for the good of the party. Out of the three factors, this is the one that hinders Congressional oversight the least. While this is a problem it doesn’t hit the factor of oversight hindrance as much as the other two. This practice is becoming more common every year, and because of that it’s almost unheard of for Democrats or Republicans to vote outside of their party lines.

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This attitude of always voting with your party has consequences, as show by recent events this causes laws that shouldn’t get passed, one of Congresses main jobs in regards to oversight is becoming a problem. If we look to the recent news we see the recent “Obama-Care” debacle can be traced back to party politics pushing a bill through Congress. When a Democratic controlled Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the bill was voted yea by every Democrat, and voted nea by every Republican in the Senate. In the House all but 34 Democrats voted yea, while again every Republican voted nea. This “gung hoe” attitude felt by nearly every Democrat in 2010 has faded fast with many Democrats “Jumping ship” according to a recent POLITICO article, due to the less than stellar role out of the new law. The two party system is creating a strangle hold on Congresses person’s ability to vote at their discretion, in turn making oversight a smaller priority.
Voter concerns have become a major problem over the past few years, with the lack of concern we see more wasteful spending and a lack of oversight. Often voters don’t care about the average bill going through Congress, in this lies the problem. A bill can pass through Congress rather easily but then there will be protest over wasteful spending in the bill after it is implemented. We have been seeing more of this especially with Tea Party, and more radical Republicans in recent years. This is a slightly bigger problem than the previous point placing it second overall, only because this is such an easy way for bad wasteful legislature to pass Congress. Not only that but voters have become more and more ignorant letting almost anything slide. We see again “Obama-care” as a modern day example. It was passed with only protest from a smaller portion of the country, mainly hardcore Republicans and the Tea party, now though you see Democrats now protesting the bill many of them voted yea on just a few years ago. Having voters so disconnected is creating bit problems for oversight; the more involved they are the more Congress will look into things like “Obama-care” more carefully. This back tracking on opinions and legislature is only harmful to the American people, and it is the American people who can stop this with more watchful eyes.
The Executive Branch is a one of unique power and responsibilities, but as of late Congress seems to be taking the route of respect over oversight. Many Congressmen respect the position of president, especially if he or she belongs to your party. This respect in recent history has been abused; Congressmen see the position of president as someone who can do no wrong. As you can see this can be problematic when a president does do something that is illegal or even questionable because then Congress will not act out of respect for the president. This is the most important problem that needs to change to improve oversight. It is effectively giving the Executive Branch a free pass on anything out of respect, when it is the Legislative Branch that holds the heavy check against the president to stop these exact things. It is effectively making the legislative branch useless in regards to checking the Executive Branch, one of the most important parts of its oversight job. Recently the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi Libya has left more questions than answers and with Executive Branch blocking some documents and some officials calling in the 5th amendment we see many Congressional Democrats just giving up, or pushing it aside. This is a major problem when there are still so many questions left to answer, and someone needs to be held accountable. We saw similar things with the Iraq hearings in regards to WMD’s, that out of respect for the office some things were overlooked. This is a major problem that if it continues will set a precedent that it is ok to ignore things, only to keep the respect of the Office of the President.
The Legislative Branch’s job of oversight is extremely important to the continuation of the ideals of the Constitution. This job has been threatened due to a few problems such as, deference to the Executive Branch, and prioritizing voter concerns with wasteful government spending. Each has its own level of importance, but each affect the way the Legislative Branch can effectively have oversight over various things. Party politics streamlines votes so if a bill is proposed by a Democrat and there is a Democratic majority, it will automatically be approved. This creates problems for Congressman who would rather look into things than not even read it. Next we see prioritizing voter concerns with wasteful government spending; the American people have caused this problem with their careless attitude. The more proactive voters are the less wasteful government spending there will be. Finally deference to the Executive Branch is the biggest lack of effective Congressional oversight, due to the literal free pass is gives to the Executive Branch to do as it wants out of respect. Congressional oversight is a fundamental par t of the Constitution, and without it creates huge problems for our American democratic process.

Works Cited

Dovere, Edward-Isaac. "Obama: 'It's on Me'" POLITICO.com. The POLITICO, 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

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