Congress is one the most powerful institutions in the political landscape of the United States, and it has a considerable impact on society and the lives of citizens. Since the United States upholds the principle of separation of powers, Congress exercises authority only over the legislative realm. At the same time, Congress also has the capacity to influence other branches of government by employing different tools, including impeachment and engaging in oversight.
Congress has many methods available to it to encourage other branches of government to act in a favorable way. The main one is the enactment of legislation that can directly impact the decision-making of different agencies belonging to other branches (Lowande & Potter, 2021). Congress can pass laws that can prohibit other government branches from engaging in activities that Congress views as unacceptable. Another important tool of Congress is the power of impeachment to which it can subject any president. The subsequent removal from office is also one of the main tools that Congress can use to make the president change their course of action and make them act in a different way. Additionally, Congress has the right to give consent to the ratification of treaties. Essentially, if the terms of a certain treaty do not satisfy Congress members, they can refuse to ratify it, thus forcing the responsible officials to change the document to comply with Congress’ will.
Congress has the oversight responsibility, which implies reviewing, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies and the implementation of various policies. The current congressional oversight is extremely effective since it ensures the better functioning of different agencies of the executive branch. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the main issues the country has faced over the past years. Congressional oversight played a major role in the development of effective measures to counter the spreading of the virus (Béland et al., 2021). Moreover, the hearings conducted by different congressional subcommittees enabled the policymakers to design strategies to counter the negative economic consequences of the pandemic. Essentially, the efforts of the officials engaged in the congressional oversight process facilitated the implementation of a working strategy to address all aspects of the pandemic. Thus, the current Congress’ oversight authority can be considered effective and capable of attaining positive results.
Congress has managed to stay effective in “the age of Trump” and after and continues to perform its duties in a proper way. The main characteristic of Congress and its actions during the period of Trump’s presidency was a high level of bipartisanship and a lack of consensus between the legislative and executive branches. As a result, the absence of agreement on issues such as the building of a wall on the border with Mexico led to a government shutdown (Smith, 2021). An example of congressional oversight during the Trump era was the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office of Trump’s healthcare legislation, the results of which discouraged the republicans from adopting the bill (Smith, 2021). Thus, even during the time of Trump’s presidency, Congress remained effective and allowed Congress members to make sensible decisions. Today, during the Biden era, Congress continues to demonstrate expertise and professionalism in its activities.
Congressional oversight is an important element of the democratic system of the United States, which works effectively by letting congress members make better decisions. Congress has many tools for influencing other government branches and forcing them to act in a certain way, and the main method is the enactment of legislation. Even during the Trump era, Congress managed to demonstrate proper functioning and successfully delivered on its responsibilities.
Béland, D., Dinan, S., Rocco, P., & Waddan, A. (2021). Social policy responses to COVID-19 in Canada and the United States: Explaining policy variations between two liberal welfare state regimes. Social Policy Administration, 55(2), 280–294.
Lowande, K., & Potter, R. (2021). Congressional oversight revisited: Politics and procedure in agency rulemaking. The Journal of Politics, 83(1), 401–408.
Smith, L. (2021). Trump and Congress. Policy Studies, 42(5), 528–543.