The Structure of Leadership in Congress
All together there are 485 congress people that come together to alter current laws or suggest new legislation. They are required to meet once per year on January 3 by the US Constitution, but they come together much more often than that. Their sessions can last months if the topic is very controversial. US legislation is slow and at times painfully inefficient. In order to make new legislation, the Congress has to go through a long process of getting a majority in the house as well as the Senate, and even after all that the President still has to approve of the bill in question.
He or she comes from the political party that controls the House and is elected through a caucus, a meeting of the House party members. The majority leader presents the official position of the party on issues and tries to keep party members loyal to that position, which is not always an easy task. In the event that a minority party wins a majority of the seats in a congressional election, its minority leader usually becomes the majority leader. The minority party in the House also has a leadership structure, topped by the minority floor leader. Whoever fills this elected position serves as the chief spokesperson and legislative strategist for the party and often works hard to win the support of moderate members of the opposition on particular votes. Although the minority leader has little formal power, it is an important job, especially because whoever holds it conventionally takes over the speakership if control of the House changes hands.
The Congress also accompanies the president and participates in international conferences as American delegates thereby shaping the outcomes of such conferences. Moreover the Congress also, by repassing the bill in the same session by a two-thirds majority vote in each house, override presidential veto. The presidential powers are also limited by the Congress since it must approve all the judicial appointments as the president must consult the Congress. The Congress also has the power to impeach the president as seen in the case of presidents Nixon and Clinton (Smith, Jason and Ryan 120 – 191). The media and public opinion also prevent imperialism. The president should also have control and also listen to the counsel of family and friends. If these groups fail in any case, the Judiciary then takes up the matter and limit presidential powers to prevent imperialism.
Dye, Thomas. Politics In America, (8th ed.). New York: Pearson/Ph, 2009.
Smith, Steven, Jason, Roberts and Ryan, Vander Wielen. The American Congress (5th ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.