Comparing The Emplementation And Scrutinizing Of Proposed Bills In The House Of Commons And Congress

1910 words - 8 pages

Comparing the Emplementation and Scrutinizing of Proposed Bills in the House of Commons and Congress

This essay will examine how two institutions, namely the House of
Commons and Congress, which are supposed to serve the same process,
differ widely in the way they implement and scrutinise proposed bills.
The essay will examine the relationship between the legislature and
the executive; the importance of the party; and the constitutional
arrangements which give each legislature very different
characteristics.

The French philosopher Montesquieu said that there could be no
democracy unless the three branches of government, legislature,
judiciary and executive, were separate bodies, which acted as checks
upon each other; preventing concentration of power in one branch.
Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the US
constitution, shared Montesquieu's opinion and famously said that
"[we] must counter ambition with ambition" . As a result the US
constitution contains a system of separation of powers, designed, at
least in theory, to ensure democracy through equally powerful branches
of government. The term 'gridlock' refers to a situation where
legislative decisions are effectively halted because there is so much
contention and too many interests to satisfy. The separation of powers
creates a situation were gridlock is becoming increasingly common.

The Congress is a bi-cameral legislature consisting of the House of
Representatives (435 members) and the Senate (100 members). Congress
has profited from a division of labour through the creation of
Congressional Committees. These Committees are where the real
decisions are made. "So that it is not far from the truth to say that
Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition; whilst Congress
in its committee-rooms is Congress at work." - Woodrow Wilson . A $1.7
trillion annual budget and congressional decentralization through the
committee system allows lawmakers to specialize and make decisions on
a wide range of complex topics. This is very different to the House of
Commons (HoC), which has a much smaller budget and a less rigorous
committee system. The rigorous nature of the Congressional committee
system (CCS) could be seen as advantageous since it allows detailed
legislation on potentially complex topics to be written. However, the
composition of the committee may not be unbiased, and once the
legislation has been drafted it must be ratified by the rest of
Congress.

Since the CCS is so important to the USlegislative process the
membership of the committees requires careful consideration. The
composition, range of interests, and the scope of their policies are
determined by the members. If a committee were full of like-minded
people that were not socially representative of the people the
policies concern, then...

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