The Trump administration includes a Republican president, and the 115th Congress consists of a Republican-majority Congress. Despite the fact that both branches of the government are from the same political party, they may disagree on their ideologies and beliefs about what the administration should be, along with the amount of powers and responsibilities each branch obtains.
For example, a bill was presented in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare. The bill, called “Trumpcare,” met a striking rebuke from Congress, including Republican representatives. Due to the strong disapproval, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, withdrew the measure on March 24.
The main question is which branch will be more powerful during this administration. “It is surprising that Congress and President Trump have conflicts, seeing that they are from the same political party. I think Trump has the most influence on his supporters and the American public, but Congress has more influence overall on legislation and government matters,” junior Julia Bergel said.
In the Constitution, the first two articles specifically delegate the powers of the federal government between Congress and the Executive branch, headed by the president. Even though each branch is granted certain powers, there are some areas of oversight from the federal government in which Congress and the president fight for the upper hand.
In the past, Congress and the president have struggled for superior power in foreign policy and militarial defense. Congress can declare war, and the president can lead the military. This causes confusion on who has more military and global influence. “Even though the War Powers Act limits the president, I still view the president as the powerful one in defense policy. He can deploy troops and has a title position. I think the president also has more power in foreign policy because executive orders can have a lot of influence. Plus, the president can meet international leaders and appoint ambassadors. In those categories, the president definitely has more power than Congress,” sophomore Khushi Bhansali said.
Freshman Riya Singh disagrees and believes that Congress is the superior power in defense and foreign policy. “Congress can declare war. That is the ultimate power for defense policy. Also, regarding foreign policy, Senate can make treaties. Of course, the president meets important leaders, but it seems that Congress is much more influential than the president,” Singh said.
Another debate regarding the amount of power in Congress and the presidency is the comparison of power between executive orders and legislation. “We have learned in class that executive orders have the same influence as laws passed by Congress. It would be interesting if a law and an executive order clashed though. I feel that the law passed by Congress would be more powerful and would be given more influence than an executive order, especially since a law has so many obstacles to pass. In that perspective, Congress has much more power and influence on social policy, and in general, domestic policy,” Singh said.