Ch.8 - The Power to Convene Congress According to the...

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The Power to Convene Congress According to the Constitution, the president must periodically inform the Congress on the state of the union. This has become an annual televised address to a joint session of Congress though many earlier presidents sent a written statement over to Congress and dispensed with speechmaking altogether. The president can convene Congress at other times as well. Though today, the Congress is virtually full time and is in session almost year round, so the power is not as important as it once was. The Power to Make Treaties The president has the power to make treaties but two-thirds of the Senate must vote to ratify. The president also receives ambassadors. These powers have been interpreted to mean that the president also has the power to formally recognize the existence of a country. The Senate does not always ratify treaties that the president feels are important. Over the years, presidents have gotten around the Senate through the use of executive orders. Executive orders allow a president to enter into secret and sensitive arrangements with foreign countries without Senate approval. Executive agreements are binding during the administration, but do not bind the next administration. However, as these agreements have become more common, it has also become common for incoming presidents to agree to abide by some executive agreements made during the last administration. Veto Power Presidents can reject any congressional legislation either through a general veto or a pocket veto (we talked about this during the Congress section of the course). The threat of veto can often have a significant effect on congressional action thus allowing the president another influence on lawmaking. However, the Congress can override a veto with a 2/3rds vote of both houses. Historically, there have been over 2,500 presidential vetoes and only about 100 have been overridden. The Line-Item Veto Many governors have the power to strike out, or veto, specific lines within a bill. In 1996, the Republican Congress passed such a line- item veto as part of the Contract with America. The goal was to control pork barrel spending by allowing the president to veto parts of a spending bill that would break the budget. In 1998, the Supreme Court declared the line-item veto unconstitutional. The Power to Preside Over the Military as Commander-in-Chief The president is commander in chief of the army and navy according to Article II. Though Congress also has war powers, the president has been considered preeminent in foreign policy. Congress has attempted to assert control over aspects of foreign policy on a number of occasions including in the mid-1970s with the War Powers Act, and again in 1999 over the air war in Yugoslavia. However, presidents have basically ignored these congressional attempts to control the presidential ability to wage war. The Pardoning Power
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course ? ? taught by Professor ? during the Spring '07 term at Gustavus.

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Ch.8 - The Power to Convene Congress According to the...

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