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Political science two questions - Essay Example

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Political Science Name: Institution: Question #1 Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein describe congress as ‘the broken branch’ because of their perception that over the last three decades Congress has transformed from two deliberative bodies into partisan battlegrounds (Ferguson, 2006)…
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Download file to see previous pages Congress is said to have become exemplary of a parliamentary system with parties either rooting for the president’s agenda or they are in the opposition, and the suppression of minority input is rampart. Mann and Ornstein draw attention to numerous illustrations of partisan excesses in the house with the speaker increasingly becoming an active partisan. They contrast this to the speaker’s stipulated role in the constitution as an officer of the whole house. This role is diminished when the speaker gets actively involved in lobbying for votes. Restrictions on floor amendments and debate are amongst the procedural constraints that are increasingly being employed to eliminate minority input in Congress’ legislation and deliberations (Uhr, 2009). Mann and Ornstein cite the disappearance of effective Congressional oversight in the event the president and the Congressional majorities are of the same party, which is a serious weakening of the checks and balances of the system. According to Mann and Ornstein, the current situation in the Congress is not nearly as bad as it was during the United States’ (US) first 75 years in which slavery tore the country apart. This though does justify what is happening in the US because back then it was during the 19th century, and the US did not play a large and significant role domestically and internationally as it does at the moment. It has been observed that Congress does not deliberate and legislate as much as it used to do before that is characterized by legislations being rushed through committees and subcommittees with little debate or deliberation. Lack of interest in the robust deliberative process of legislation is a symptom of broader maladies in the contemporary Congress (Ornstein, Mann & Malbin, 2009). Mann and Ornstein are of the opinion that there is a belief in Congress that deliberation, bipartisanship, fairness and debate are impediments towards the achievement of the larger goal of party and political success. This can be construed to echo the adage that states ‘the end justifies the means.’ Mann and Ornstein effectively demonstrate the broken nature of Congress by illustrating how it mishandled the vital issue of continuity in the event of a terrorist attack or other catastrophe (Sasada, 2008). These vital aspects that are nonpartisan are considered by the House like partisan issues. The Congress’ inability to appropriately address such vital and pertinent issues is proof of the House’s dysfunctional nature, which is agreeable in this context and the apparent failures in delivering their pre-election agendas and promises. A characteristic of this is the subordination of Congress as an independent arm of government through partisan endeavors. Mann and Ornstein promote a progressive reform movement for Congress through various measures like internal reforms, ethics and lobbying reform efforts, campaign finance reforms and the destruction of the seniority system in the House. Question #2 The powers and practices of the executive branch of the US government in the founding days were characterized by an escalating affront against checks and balances. The founding fathers claimed to have immunity from oversight by Congress and the courts, which can be interpreted to mean that their practices were a mere extension an established trend towards increasing executive power. There are recent claims to presidential authority through the contortion of a unitary executive, which is perceived ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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