How Can the Executive Branch Check the Legislative Branch?

The main way the executive branch checks the legislative branch is through veto power. Another way includes the ability to call special sessions of Congress. The executive branch can also recommend legislation, which is a more subtle check on the legislative branch.

The executive branch of government primarily includes the president and his cabinet. The legislative branch of government includes the Senate and the House of Representatives. Once a bill passes through the legislative branch, it has to pass through the president before it can become law. This is how the executive branch checks the power of the legislative branch. The president can veto and cancel any bill this way. The president’s veto can only be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate. This has only happened 106 times out of 1,484 regular presidential vetoes. If the president neither signs a bill into law nor vetoes it, the bill becomes law automatically after 10 days without a signature.

The executive branch can also call special sessions of Congress in times of emergency. The president rarely uses this power, however, and the last time was when President Harry Truman used it on July 15, 1948. This power is a check on the legislative branch because it forces Congress to meet and deal with issues when they are not convened and/or when they are potentially even avoiding convening.