Separating Power: Friction

Separating Power: Friction. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. September 17, 2014.

Many have blamed partisan gridlock for the possibility that the 113th Congress will be deemed the least “productive” Congresses ever. Setting aside what constitutes productivity and how productivity should be measured, the President too has repeatedly cited congressional inaction in defending a series of unilateral executive actions that have only deepened existing divides between the two branches. Thus a situation has developed in which the President criticizes what he considers to be a “Do Nothing” Congress, while some Members of the House and Senate, in turn, condemn what they consider to be an “Imperial Presidency.” Although it admittedly can be difficult to distinguish institutional conflicts from political ones, the result, some would argue, has nevertheless been legislative stagnation. Was it meant to be this way?

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