Bureaucrats play several fundamental roles in the policymaking process, which shape decisions made by Congress and the president. These roles include adjudication, legislation and policy execution. Although bureaucracy is an agent created by Congress and the president, they can make rules and execute them independently. As a result, the bureaucratic agencies appear to have uncontrollable powers. This paper argues that it is impossible for removal of policymaking powers from the bureaucrats by Congress and explores merits and demerits of increased congress control of bureaucratic agencies in
Removing policymaking powers from the bureaucrats is a difficult task for Congress. The size of the bureaucracy is significantly incomparable to that of Congress. Notably, bureaucracy comprises several groups, while Congress is just one group (Andrade and Lima-Silva, p.4). Therefore, it is more difficult for Congress to monitor bureaucracy than for the latter to monitor and control the former. In addition, bureaucrats have strong protection from civil laws, which would make it difficult for Congress to succeed in removing powers of policymaking from these agencies.
Moreover, bureaucracy has won the loyalty of the masses through its service to the people. Therefore, any attempts by Congress to overthrow the bureaucratic authority of policymaking would be met by ultimate rejection by the people who benefit from these agencies. Notably, any action by Congress to curb the bureaucrats’ powers is likely to attract mass demonstrations as people are always ready to defend the bureaucracy.
Usually, Congress, when Congress initiates new programs, it needs to articulate specific policies, thus leaving a legal gap. Therefore, the bureaucrats must play a specific role in establishing specific policy details that Congress omitted. As a result, the bureaucrats’ role in policymaking is vital for Congress to dispense (Andrade and Lima-Silva, p.8). The curtailment of bureaucratic policymaking powers by Congress can create a vacuum that would impair the entire legislative process. Therefore, Congress can only oversee and try to control bureaucrats without terminating their powers.
Increased control of bureaucratic powers in Congress policymaking can be advantageous and disadvantageous. Curtailing the policymaking powers of the bureaucrats can promote economic development. Some rules made by these agencies are retrogressive to the establishment and growth of businesses. Congress can enjoy autonomous decision-making during the policymaking process if it succeeds in curtailing the powers of bureaucrats (Andrade and Lima-Silva, p.10). Congress’s termination of bureaucratic policymaking powers can save the government from wasteful budgeting to finance bureaucratic activities.
If Congress increases control on bureaucrats’ power to participate in legislation, the interests of the general public can be neglected by elected government officials by establishing exploitive laws. In addition, bureaucrats help play a significant role in legislation which, if left entirely to Congress, would result in incomplete policies which lack specificity (Andrade and Lima-Silva, p.21). Terminating the policymaking authority from Congress would mean the government does not have protection from negative media coverage leading to reputation damage. Complete removal of bureaucratic power of policy would reduce transparency and accountability of the government in the management of public resources.
In conclusion, this paper argues it is impossible for Congress would wish to curtail the bureaucratic powers of policymaking due to several reasons. First, the bureaucratic agencies are numerous and large and thus enjoy the majority of powers. Also, bureaucracy has strong support from the civil laws, which would be tedious for Congress to navigate. Other powers enjoyed by the bureaucrats include support from the people they serve and financial and expertise that do not match that of Congress. Lastly, the complete removal of policymaking powers from the bureaucrats can promote economic progress. On the downside, the removal of bureaucracy in policymaking can impair the entire process of legislation.
Andrade, Fabio Pereira, and Fernanda Lima-Silva. “High-Level Federal Bureaucracy and Policy Formulation: The Case of the Bolsa Família Program.” Brazilian Political Science Review; High-Level Federal Bureaucracy and Policy Formulation: the Case of the Bolsa Família Program, vol. 10, no. 3, 2016, pp. 2–26., doi:10.1590/1981-38212016000300008.