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Unformatted text preview: Congress: The First Branch An Evolving Branch
[see Brief 6.1 , p. 153] Originally seen by framers as closest to people; representative of public needs and mood Would become more institutionalized, better educated, more professional Also more partisan, polarized; given to gridlock in policymaking; bureaucratic Congress Reacts to Events of late 20th Century Congressional limits on Executive Power War Powers Resolution 1973 Budget Impoundment & Control Act 1974 Special Prosecutor Law 1978 Aggressive use of investigative power Vietnam era; Watergate; Irancontra Watergate Scandal
[Brief 6.3, p. 160] political intrigue; distrust of democratic processes; preservation of executive power breakin would eventually lead to unraveling of Nixon presidency President forced to turn over taped conversations; no absolute executive privilege Would lead to growing distrust of public officials and political institutions United States v. Nixon (1974) (80) CongressionalPresidential Relations post Watergate Carter/Reagan/Bush I/Clinton Growing cynicism & partisanship Mounting federal budget deficits Divided government The Clinton Years Election of 199243% of popular vote Congressional Elections--1994
First Republican majority in 40 yrs Return of divided government 19952001 Clinton and the Independent Counsel [ Brief 6.4, p. 162] Political conflict between Republican Congress & Clinton White House Accusations of financial fraud and personal scandal Kenneth Starr's report to Congress September 1998 Impeachment Hearings and Senate Trial
December 1998: Two articles of impeachment perjury before grand jury obstruction of justice Senate trialFebruary 1999 Failed to get 2/3s majority on either article ACQUITTED Postscript on Nixon & Clinton Scandals WatergateNixon resignation; no impeachment Extensive political network to distort electoral process and preserve political power Major constitutional crisis Clinton Impeachment/Trial Compartmentalization of personal/public behavior Major political distraction in Congress Historical legacy? Presidential Power and the Bush II Presidency
Active government Expanding presidential authority USA PATRIOT Act (2001/2006) Dept. of Homeland Security (2002) Intelligence Reform & Terrorism Prevention Act (2004) Detainee Treatment Act (2005) Military Commissions Act (2006) Increasing budget deficits $413 billion for FY2004 $406 billion (est.) for FY2009 Imperial Presidency or Wartime Necessity? Collision btw. national security and civil liberties happened in earlier conflicts 2004 presidential election Bush (50.7%); Kerry (48.3%) 2006 congressional elections Democratic majority more oversight of executive branch minimal change in policy ability of Bush to frustrate a stilldivided Congress ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course PSC 2302 taught by Professor Dr.riley during the Spring '08 term at Baylor.
- Spring '08