Executive Legislative Relations

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Executive-legislative relations

Executive-legislative relations

The executive and legislative arms of the government depends on what party is in charge of each branch and the agendas that the parties are pushing for. The interaction between the executive and the Congress ranges from the nominations to the impeachment of the executive leaders and a comprehensive agreement to the budget (Lienert, 2010). A little conflict between the legislature and the executive is beneficial in limiting and controlling the activities of the government (Jayasurya, 2010). For the president to see his agendas supported by the legislation, he builds lower level units for co-partisan legislators to prevent party defections. This shows that leaders can use administrative reform to undermine legislative checks against executive power.

The president has a legislative role as stipulated in the constitution. The section three states that the president has a responsibility to give the Congress information on the state of the union and give recommendations to their consideration such measure since he will make judgment necessary and expedient. The president also has a responsibility of ensuring that the laws created by the legislature are faithfully executed; this means that for the president to govern the country effectively, he must apply the laws formed by the legislature as stated in the constitution. The president also has a right to address the legislature about his agenda and what he expects from them.

Although the executive power of the United States’ federal government is vested in the president, the president always recommends to the Congress the legislative measures that he believes are important to his policies (Gelman, Wilkenfeld & Adler, 2015). The influence of the Congress on the presidency varies from one period to another . The Senate also affects the presidency since president’s appointment of the cabinet judges, officials and other high officers must be confirmed by the Senate. The treaties and agreements negotiated by the president must be approved by 66% of the Senate for them to take effect.

The president has the ability to set nation’s political agenda by using the powers granted to him by the constitution. However, without the powers of legislative leadership and agenda setting, the president might find it difficult to fulfill his political promises or react to the countries emerging needs or public demands (Ashbee, 2012). This may lead to an underperforming government, poor policy outcomes, stagnation and disillusionment with the democratic system. To prevent that, the president has to appreciate the elected politicians and seek cooperation with the legislature for them to have a common agenda. The president also has to bargain and negotiate with other politicians to get their support for his policies which are eventually adopted by the federal government.

The Congress also has a role in the election of the president. The two houses meet jointly on January sixth after a presidential election to tally the electoral votes. If the Electoral College fails to elect the president by the majority, they have the power to elect the president and the vice president themselves; this is known as a contingent election. The continent election as stipulated by the constitution states that the House of Representatives shall elect the president while the Senate shall choose the vice president. This means that the legislature has potential to determine the executive to take charge in case of a tie on Electoral College votes. The House of Representatives has elected the president twice, in 1801 and in 1825 while the Senate has elected the president once, 1837. In addition to that, the Congress also has the power to supervise and investigate the activities and programs of the president and his administration.

Although the Congress has the responsibility of introducing and passing legislation, the president has a duty to either approve or reject these bills (Schickler & Lee, 2011). The president may also issue a signing statement to explain what purpose the bill serves and instruct the executive branches responsible on how the new law should be put into effect and express his opinion on the law. The president also has the power to veto a specific bill but the Congress has the power to override this by a two-thirds majority vote of the member present when the override veto is done. The president also has a third option of doing nothing and after 10 business days, the bill automatically becomes a law. The Congress has to convene for a session within the ten business days. This shows that the president is also involved in the lawmaking process, which is deemed as a legislative responsibility.


The doctrine of separation of powers was set to ensure that those who lay down the framework on which action is taken, (the legislature) are different from those who execute the action (the executive). This means that the legislature has a role of monitoring the executive action. Although the responsibilities of these two bodies are distinct, their activities are interrelated to ensure cooperation and coordination for the government to be able to fulfill its political promises to the people.


Gelman, J., Wilkenfeld, G., & Adler, E. (2015). The Opportunistic President: How US Presidents Determine Their Legislative Programs. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 40(3), 363-390. dx.doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12080

Jayasurya, G. (2010). Case Laws Reflecting the ‘Relations between Governmental Organs Executive-Legislature’. SSRN Electronic Journal. dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1627185

Lienert, I. (2010). Role of the Legislature in Budget Processes. Technical Notes And Manuals, 2010(04), 1. dx.doi.org/10.5089/9781462398973.005

Ashbee, E. (2012). US politics today. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Schickler, E., & Lee, F. (2011). The Oxford handbook of the American Congress. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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