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Government and Constitution in USA

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (875 words)
Categories: Constitution, Government, The Us Constitution, Usa
Downloads: 4
Views: 1

The people who created the U.S. Constitution wanted to form a government that would represent the interests of all citizens, but not at the expense of individual liberties. They also wanted to create balance between a strong national government, which would bring the states together and at the same time have the ability to generate tax revenues, and limit government, which would prevent corruption and tyranny. One main feature of the Constitution is that it clearly separates the powers of government into the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches.

Separation of powers allowed for a system of checks and balances, through which each branch is able to prevent the others from becoming too powerful. Each one of the branches has the authority to make governmental decisions, which are usually subject to approval from the other two branches. Here is a description of the makeup and function of both the Legislative and Executive branches and how govern our country.

The Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch is made up of a bicameral house called Congress. The House of Representatives and the Senate are the two chambers of Congress, and each has the power to create and pass legislation. Representation in the House is based on state population, with each state guaranteed at least one representative. There are currently 435 congressional districts across the country, and each elects one House representative to serve a term of two years. In contrast, the Senate has 100 seats, two for every state. Senators serve six-year terms, and they are elected by virtue of the popular vote in their respective states (Krutz, 2017).

The Constitution affords Congress a number of different powers. It may create and pass laws, collect taxes, declare war, build and maintain an army and navy, coin money, borrow money, regulate domestic and foreign trade, establish rules on federal courts, bankruptcy, immigration, and naturalization, issue patents, decide presidential elections, override presidential vetoes, and impeach federal officials (The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2018).

The legislative process requires that a bill is introduced by a member of Congress, even if it is proposed by the President. The bill then goes before a committee before it reaches the floor of Congress for a vote. Every bill enters each chamber independently, where it is subject to amendments, debate, and a vote. A simple majority, 50% + 1, is required to pass a bill in each chamber. Assuming the bill passes one chamber, it must be passed in the other, and both versions of the bill must be identical before it reaches the desk of the President for final approval. The House is comparatively more organized than the Senate in the matter of reviewing legislation, and it can be very difficult for the two chambers to agree.

The modern legislative process is slightly different. Congress often reviews packaged bills, called omnibus bills, to move large policy changes along quickly. Party leadership in Congress also has more control over bills than in years past. Rather than rely on committees to work on a bill, House leadership uses special rules to guide a bill toward a desired outcome. Furthermore, the Senate uses a modern filibuster to request a cloture before a bill ever reaches the Senate floor. This changes the requirement of 51 votes to 60 votes, which is often enough to kill a bill.

The Executive Branch

The Executive Branch of the government is another term for the Office of the President. Under the Constitution, the President is appointed by the Electoral College, a collection of electors from each state, and serves a term of four years. The Constitution did not define a limit on the number of terms a President could serve, but it was later determined by the Twenty-Second Amendment in 1947 that the number of presidential terms be limited to two.

The U.S. Constitution explicitly grants the President a number of different powers. The President is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, and has the powers to propose laws, enforce laws, grant reprieves and pardons, to make treaties with foreign nations, to nominate and appoint ambassadors, ministers, Judges of the Supreme Court, and other State Department officials, and fill vacancies in the Senate. Some of the President’s power is subject to approval from Congress, such as the appointing of Supreme Court Judges and the making of treaties. In addition, the President may also veto laws passed by Congress. Perhaps the most important, and least defined, of the President’s powers is executive power, which has expanded significantly over time.

The Founding Fathers clearly wanted to limit the power of the President, although Article II of the Constitution uses vague language to define executive power. The gradual expansion of presidential power is the result of how Presidents have interpreted executive power over the years. Abraham Lincoln, for example, cited executive power when he ordered the Emancipation Proclamation, as did John F. Kennedy when he sent troops to Vietnam without the consent of Congress. The loosely defined article also led to the concept of executive privilege, which gave rise to important government agencies, such as the FBI and CIA. Another brilliant feature of the Constitution is that it is flexible, and it is open for alterations as needed.

Cite this essay

Government and Constitution in USA. (2020, May 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/government-and-constitution-in-usa-essay

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