According to the Constitution of the United States, Congress has more legislative power than the president (learn more on this here.) But just try telling that to a modern day president. Case in point: President Barack Obama's imperious warning to Republican members of Congress regarding attempts to defund Obama-care:
Source: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images
“We've got to have something ... to sell our caucus, and I said to them, I said let me tell you something, I spent a year and a half getting healthcare passed. I had to take that issue across the country and I paid significant political costs to get it done,” said President Obama. “The notion that I’m going to let you guys undo that in a six-month spending bill?’ I said, you wanna repeal health care? Go at it. We’ll have that debate. But, you’re not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we’re stupid?”
"Unbelievable arrogance," said Glenn Beck of the former president's closed-door candor with donors. "But he's not the only one. They're all like that. This is the attitude now, that the president is somehow or another equal to or even more powerful than Congress when it comes to legislation. But that thinking is totally upside down compared to the Constitution."
So how did we get here?
Our founders designed a remarkable government, carefully spelled out in the Constitution. But it didn't take long before vying political party's worked out a way to use crisis as the catalyst for change. In fact, the second president of the United States, John Adams, was the first to use a moment of crisis to step outside of the Constitutional boundary.
Prompted by an undeclared naval war between the U.S. and France in 1798, Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which gave the government powers to deport "enemy aliens" and to arrest anyone who disagreed with the government. Fortunately, they didn't last.
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