When our nation began, our government instilled principles of checks and balances. The structure included three levels of government involving the judicial, legislative and executive branches as identified in the Constitution. It is a concept that has benefited us from day one, but today some seem to question whether anything can ever get done in Congress with the current structure. congressTo this I answer a resounded yes. Having a checks and balance system is necessary so no one element can push through their agenda without support from the others. The primary environment in which this occurs is our federal legislature. Legislation is initiated but it takes both houses of Congress to arrive at a final version to be submitted to the President for signature. One house cannot create legislation and submit it for signature, it takes both. This aspect of the checks and balance system can be positive or it can be negative as we have seen in recent days.
Currently the Senate and the House of Representatives is controlled by two separate political parties. Each must accept legislation from the other but votes do not always take place in the Senate under the present political environment. In this respect each legislative body is a check to the other, and while sometimes actions are stalled or never occur at all, it is a viable aspect of our legislative structure. In addition, review of legislation also involves the President and judicial review by the Supreme Court if there is a challenge to any legislation passed.
CongressOne aspect of why this system seems to have positive benefits involves the concept of the President proposing a budget for Congress and sending it to Congress for review and acceptance. It is understood that no Congress is ever going to completely agree with a President’s budget as presented regardless of the party in power. It is the responsibility of Congress to evaluate the details of any budget proposal or revision and accept or modify the approaches to the issues identified.
We as a country are privileged to have a system of checks and balances though at times it seems to bog down. It is important to have a system in place to review proposals by a President and the laws by Congress. The judicial branch of government which includes the Supreme Court reviews Congressional legislation when cases are filed by individuals or groups that feel certain laws are not in agreement with the Constitution. When this occurs, often times the laws are challenged and sometimes even reach the Supreme Court to rule on their constitutionality.
The current session of the Supreme Court will evaluate and make a decision on two critical issues. One involves immigration policies and whether immigration laws enacted at the state level violate the authority of the federal government. The second issue is the mandate for health insurance included in the healthcare legislation signed into law by President Obama. The court in this aspect on these issues and others is a check against not only the actions of the legislature but also the executive department.
Basically Congress is a check for proposals by the President and the Supreme Court and sometimes the President is a check on the laws passed by Congress. Each branch of the government has their individual authorities and Senate and House of Representatives power, and the system we have today, though many feel is not working, is a good system. Systems in place are affected by the individuals who operate within the system. Failures, which may exist are not the fault of the system but the individuals within the system. This is not to say that there are not good individuals who have the best interest of citizens in mind when legislation is created and sometimes enacted.
Whether it is the checks and balance system in government or in private industry, a system of this type helps to ensure at least a review of what is being proposed. It is a methodology which has worked well throughout our history and will work well into the future. It is always good to have input on what ideas are proposed by others who may not have been a part of actions to create them.
The system of checks and balance are usually associated with government operations, but the concept is also engrained within the business community. Businesses are always making changes or upgrading programs or policies. In most cases before something is finalized, proposed actions are reviewed either by management or with input from employees if the decisions will impact their respective functions.
Difficult decisions are always going to be made by government and in private industry and having a system which reviews proposed actions or decisions makes sense. It does not matter what you call it as the key thing is receiving the feedback.