The primary check the president has on Congress is the ability to veto legislation. The president can also choose to implement legislation in a manner Congress did not intend. Executive orders also give the president significant power.Continue Reading
As head of the executive branch, presidents are unable to craft new legislation; all legislation much be passed by Congress. While the president often plays a role in crafting legislation, it is up to Congress to vote on and pass it. However, the president can veto any piece of legislation. This veto power is limited because a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate will override the veto and make the legislation law. In practice, these votes are rare.
While presidents have a duty to enforce laws, they can also choose how to interpret it. As a result, presidents can often avoid areas of the law they find objectionable. In recent years, so-called "signing statements" have become more popular. These statements outline how the president interprets the legislation.
Congress often has few means of recourse if a president chooses to ignore parts of a law. In practice, this usually means that the president fails to enforce certain laws. Executive orders also allow presidents to exercise power over a limited area of government.Learn more about Branches of Government
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 are two of the most influential and well-known pieces of congressional legislation. Both acts were passed by Congress in an attempt to end the racial discrimination that was prevalent in the southern United States.Full Answer >
Today, the two houses of Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, are broadly similar, and they both craft and vote on legislation. The House must initiate budget-related bills, and the Senate has oversight for presidential nomination.Full Answer >
Resources for tracking active Congressional legislation include the Library of Congress' THOMAS database, OpenCongress.org and GovTrack.us. Users access the THOMAS database from the Library of Congress website and search by bill number, a word or phrase in the bill, or bill sponsor.Full Answer >
Congress can check the president by overriding a presidential veto with a two-thirds majority vote, by confirming or rejecting cabinet members or other appointees the president has selected, and by subpoenaing as witnesses and holding in contempt people to whom the president has offered pardons. In addition, only Congress can initiate legislation, so if a president wants a bill passed, he must lobby Congress.Full Answer >