Presentation Paper Sample: Government Institutions


The United States federal government has three branches of government. The judiciary, the legislature and the executive are the three separate branches of the federal government. Among the three, the legislative branch is the most powerful. The president who is the chief executive executes his policies through congress. All legislation which facilitates the promises of a president must be passed by congress. The legislature vets judicial appointees. Indeed, the legislature can override actions taken by the other two branches of government.

Congressional Oversight and Powers

One of the most critical powers of congress is the power to impeach the president, vice president and other members of the executive. In addition, congress has the power to impeach justices of the Supreme Court. This only happens if they commit crimes of bribery, treason and other high crimes while still in office. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach, and the Senate has the power to try the impeachment.

Congress has the power to override the presidential veto by getting a two thirds majority to pass a bill. This puts the legislature above the executive because congress can bypass the president by overriding his power to sign bills into law. On the other hand, the president cannot override a two thirds majority vote. This context makes congress the most powerful policy making body among the three branches of the federal government. Additionally, congress has the power to increase the powers of the executive. For instance, the military commission Act of 2006 gave the president the power to declare people military combatants.

It is also critical to note that Congress vets all presidential constitutional office apartments. Again this means the president cannot appoint members of the Supreme Court without the approval of congress. This means that the most powerful people in the judicial branch the chief justice and other members of the Supreme Court cannot be in office without the approval of Congress. Furthermore, the President cannot declare war without congress. Even if he technically can declare war, he needs congress to declare war in order to get the mandate of the people.

Congress has the power to investigate any scandal or issue in the other branches which is of public interest. This is one of the most important functions of congress as an oversight body (Fisher, 2003). As such it has oversight over both the executive and the judiciary branches. This is a non legislative power which is delegated to committees of both houses. Congressional committees have judicial powers to summon and compel witnesses to testify before committees (Fisher, 2003).

In addition, congress has the powers to control all forms of taxes including import and export taxes. This power puts congress at the helm of public resources. What’s more, congress controls the budget of the United States federal government. This means that it controls how much money both the federal and the judiciary branches have access to. Any extra spending in the form of new programs and policies has to be assessed and passed by congress. This definitely makes congress the most powerful branch of government because; he who controls the resources inevitably controls everything else…

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