As Congress slows, the presidency grows
The recent breakdown of COVID-19 relief legislation and President Donald Trump’s subsequent executive actions are just the latest in a long series of examples of Congress failing to act and a president stepping in to fill the void. This is not how our government should work. The people’s representatives are supposed to write the laws, and the president is to execute them.
When James Madison teamed up with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to defend the Constitution in the Federalist Papers, he warned that the “legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” The framers envisioned “energy in the executive” as a ballast against congressional overreach. They likely would not recognize our current state of affairs.
Ironically, while this inaction is driven by jockeying for power among congressional Democrats and Republicans, in the end, only the presidency gains the advantage. And it’s been happening since well before President Trump took office.
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