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The legislative branch does not work in a vacuum. Instead, Congress crafts legislation with the full knowledge

that the other two branches of government have the ability to limit the power of the legislative branch. However, checks and balances are a two-way street: the U.S. Constitution also delegates powers to the legislative branch to limit the powers of the judiciary and executive branches. Understanding these checks and balances is important from a constitutional perspective. It also gives you some insight into the constraints that members of the House and Senate are cognizant of as they go about the process of constructing public policy.

Think about the interactive constraints and powers of the legislative branch in relation to the judicial and executive branches. Consider, for example, how the budget process gives power and/or places restraints on the legislative branch of government. Also consider how the powers of the legislative branch might serve as a check on the policymaking powers of the judicial and executive branches.

Select one constraint and one power of the legislative branch of government. Consider how you might explain each. Think about how the power you selected specifically serves as a check on the other branches of government.

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