The United States Government Essay

1049 words - 4 pages

The United States government consists of three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. These branches were created to be coequal with overlapping powers that keep each other branch in check. The branches of government were designed to work well together and be being coequal would result in making decisions that are in the best interests of the people. Each branch is crucial to making sure the federal government works properly. In many ways, the legislative branch seems to have more power than the executive and judicial branches. The Framers of the Constitution wanted the legislative branch to have more power, which is sustained today in the United States government. The Framers also granted the legislative branch certain powers to give them more authority. The three main powers that enable the legislative branch to have this authority are the abilities to appropriate funds, declare war, and create laws.
The power to appropriate funds is crucial to the U.S. government because it enables the flow of funding for the government to function. Congress’ ability to fund government functions provides for everything from entitlements such as: Social Security, Medicaid, to running the nation’s national parks, the postal services, and the work of all federal agencies and the military. Without the legislative branches’ ability to raise revenues and appropriate funds, nothing would function. The Constitutional authority for Congress to fund government also gives Congress a weapon that the Executive and Judicial branches both lack. For example, the President may wish to regulate a certain area such as offshore oil drilling. After the B.P. disaster in the Gulf, the President could have established very onerous regulations over offshore drilling. If the additional regulations required expanding federal agency functions requiring greater budget demands for salaries and enforcement, Congress disapproval of the expansion of presidential powers over drilling activities, could be stopped by simply cutting-off the funds.
The declaration of war is another power that the Constitution delegates to Congress, which makes the legislative branch powerful. However, in recent administrations, this authority has become very controversial with the executive branch over-reaching into Congress’ authority. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly grants Congress with the sole authority to declare war. In very recent months, the President launched U.S. military aircraft to bomb the coast of Libya. The military action was undertaken without an official declaration of war from Congress; and possibly in violation of the War Powers Act since the President failed to notify Congress in advance of the action. Although, in certain circumstances in exercising the Commander-in-Chief authority provided to the President, the War Powers Act preserves the President’s powers to act, but not without certain safeguards. These limitations in the War Powers Act further...

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