A way of referring to the Bush admin: the imperial presidency. Think Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps, waterboarding. Now a way of referring to the Obama admin -- an editorial listing his workarounds of Congress and the states, which made me think of posting this thread. (Too many to repeat, but we'll start with: recess appointments when the Senate was in session; implementing the Dream Act, Cap and Trade, and card check, after Congress declined to. The article does a better job.)
Someone earlier had on another thread pointed out that it's silly to say Obama spent too much money because only Congress can legally spend money. But: illegal doesn't mean imaginary! Clinton spent money Congress had voted not to spend (giving a gift to Mexico, then relayed to Cuba to modernize its phone system). I don't know about Bush. A President can only legally spend money budgeted by Congress, but Congress doesn't pass budgets any more, since 2009.
What *should* a President do, when Congress won't do what he wants?
Is the current way a problem? If so, how long has it been this way, to your knowledge?
If it is a problem, what can be done?
This should be fun.
Yet say this about Mr. Bush: His aggressive reading of executive authority was limited to the area where presidents are at their core power—the commander-in-chief function.
Imperial powers have emperors, people who rule despite the will of their subjects, and base their behavior on their own whims.
This doesn't sound much like President Bush, but... Well, I'll let you finish that sentence.
I think the imperial presidencies started much earlier than Bush... definitely since Wilson, maybe as far back as Lincoln.
Congress has been passive-aggressive towards presidents of the other party since the '90s. See: the Republican Congress towards Clinton from '95-'01; the Democratic Senate towards Bush the first year and last two years of his presidency; the Republican House towards Obama today.
Refusing to confirm the kind of innocuous appointments that are routinely held up during those periods (non-SCOTUS federal judges; various mid-level departmental heads) is just another symptom of the caustic environment in Congress. Presidential appointees serve at the pleasure of the president; if that were not the intention, the president wouldn't be tasked with appointing them.
The Senate is supposed to be there to watch out for cases of conflicts of interest or people lacking qualifications for the office; but objecting to an appointee on ideological or partisan grounds is completely unacceptable. One of the most despicable cases that comes to mind is when Jesse Helms used (and abused) his committee chairmanship to place a hold on the nomination of William Weld - a state governor from his own party - to be Ambassador to Mexico because Weld was pro-choice. (Weld had already resigned from the governorship and was basically left high and dry).
Recess appointments are the only way a president can get anything done when he's dealing with a Congress that's more interested in placating activists and getting time in front of the TV cameras.
I'm thinking that the President doesn't get to make those unless the Congress is actually in recess. Call me crazy...
Those appointments are also limited to one year duration.
The recess appointment mechanism dates back to the time when Congress was in session for only six non-consecutive months of the year.
I wish there were some way for the Judicial and Executive branch to dissolve the congress and call for new elections if they can't fulfil their basic roles, like passing a budget and confirming appointments
If they can't do that, I think the entire government should be dissolved, and a new one put in its place!
I believe that the Executive's dissolution of the Legislative branch was one of the reasons for the American Revolution of 1776. See the Declaration of Independence for citation.
The U.S. decided , circa 1787, it was better to have a tri-partite govenment where the friction between the three equal, but uniquely empowered branches would tend to prevent a head of state from becoming an autocrat.
There is a way for Congress to be dissolved. Read the Constitution. The opportunity to dissolve Congress happens as often as every 2 years. Only one problem. It requires the people to 1) know how the system is supposed to work, 2) care about the system and the way it was designed to work, 3) believe in what the system was designed to work for....
The people 1) have no concept of how our Federal system is supposed to work (thank you Liberals in charge of civics education), 2) don't care about the system, (all they care about is getting an easier ride at the expense of others) 3) don't believe in what the system was designed to work for: which is equal protection under the law for individuals.
The separate branches are in place to maintain the balance of the Government and not allow any one branch to have too much power over the others. You're suggesting that two of three could vote out the other, which makes for very scary (see Egypt) politics. Why couldn't the Legistative and Judicial vote out the Executive?