The power of the president is limited to persuasion 30 markerPresentation Transcript
“I sit here all day trying to persuade peopleto do the things they ought to have senseenough to do without my persuadingthem...that‟s all the power s of the presidentamount to”
The Vice President – as presiding officer ofthe Senate, he has a foothold in Congress (All of the last 6 VPs have formerly beenmembers of Congress too). Cabinet officers – these work in their ownpolicy related area Party leaders in Congress – House Speaker,Majority and Minority leaders in both houses,whips, committee chairs
Make phone calls to selected members ofcongress Offer help with legisaltion that benefit‟smembers constituents Offer help with federal/executiveappointments of interest to constituents Invite members to a meeting/photo op atWhite House Go to Capitol Hill to address a selected groupof members Offer to campaign for members of his ownparty
President can go on national television to aappeal directly to the people. This is what President Johnson called„putting Congress‟s feet to the fire‟- CivilRights Act 1964
The President is dependent on Congress for alllegislation and money Powerful committee chairs, Speaker of the House canthwart a President‟s agenda if it conflicts with theirwon Separation of powers means congressmen have theirown mandate , and their willingness to support thepresident is more conditional than in a parliamentarysystem...”will it aid my own re-election?”. Even a Congress controlled by his own party mayignore – e.g. The Bush second term - or defeat – e.g.the Clinton health care reforms – the president‟sagenda Consequently the president needs to persuademembers of Congress that support for him is in theirinterests
Mandate of the President may be such – e.g.President Johnson in 1964 – that the president doesnot need to persuade Congress to adopt his agenda(Great Society) Ability of the President to circumvent Congressthrough executive orders, executive agreements andrecess appointments (Clinton made a recessappointment of Bill Lann Lee as Assistant AttorneyGeneral for civil rights, when it became clear thatLees strong support of affirmative action would leadto Senate opposition). Use of signing statements to implement legislation asthe president directs, sometimes in directcontravention of Congress‟ expressed intent If the persuasion fails, the president can vetolegislation In several aspects of foreign policy, the presidencycan act unilaterally (Nixon – Cambodia)
However! Congress CAN override apresidents veto...even if it is controlled bythe same party! 2 of Carter‟s vetoes were overriden by aDemocrat controlled Congress. In 1980Congress passed a bill repealing a $4.62 oilimport fee. Later that year Congress also overrode hisveto of a Veteran‟s healthcare bill.