Essay on Legislative Gridlock
Jefferson states that a “government is best which governs least,” but what affect does government inaction have of on our society, and what are the forces that promote this inaction? The competition for power between separated institutions is a driving force in this inaction. When the legislative and executive branches of our government engage in a power struggle, policies that could be potentially beneficial suffer at the hands of legislative gridlock. The polarization of the democrat and republican parties also has an impact on the difficulties faced by Congress. A polarized Congress leads to difficulties in legislating because no one is willing to compromise. The competition of power and polarization between …show more content…
While public regard for Congress has always been low, it has been trending ever downward recently. “During the two years after the Democrats’ victory of 2008, Congress’ approval rating in Gallup’s tracking poll dropped from a high of 39 percent approval in March 2009 to a low of 13 percent in December 2010. The voters handed the House off to the GOP in the 2010 midterms. Peak approval under that party’s control hit 24 percent last May, and Congress ended the year at 11 percent, the lowest figure in Gallup’s history” (Binder, 2003). These low ratings were partly due to the very public disputes and ultimate chaos between the House Republicans and the rest of the Congress, but ultimately these ratings can be attributed to legislative gridlock.
Legislative gridlock is a term that has been attributed to Congress since the very institution of Congress. In Binder’s book Stalemate, divided government, party polarization, and bicameralism are the main forces that lead to inaction of Congressional members. The 112th Congress was not the first Congress to reach legislative gridlock. In Stalemate we are given ample evidence that Congressional committees throughout history have experienced this legislative gridlock