Why is Congress Yielding Power to the Executive

Why is Congress Yielding Power to the Executive

February 27, 2014

There has been a lot of discussion in the news lately about the movement of power to the executive branch of the federal government. The testimony of Jonathan Turley brought wide public awareness to the question.

Of course, the founders wrote a constitution with three branches of government knowing that men tend to seek to expand their own power and the the branches would be likely to continue to check the expansion of the power of the other branches.

I have heard it asked why Congress has so easily yielded its own power to the executive branch? I have one possible answer. While the job of the congress as a body is to legislate, provide advise and consent to appointments, declare war and so forth, the job of an individual representative or senator is quite different. Given what individuals spend their time doing, we can say that their actual job is fund raising. Then we must only ask the question, “does yielding power to the executive branch hurt fund raising efforts?” Apparently the answer is “No”.

In fact, I would make the case that perhaps, at least in the short term, abdicating power to the executive branch might enhance fund raising efforts because it can provide opportunity to write fund raising letters complaining about the executive branch (if one is in the opposition party) or use the abdication to distance oneself from unpopular and ineffective government actions (if one is in the party in power).

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