For July 24: Legislative Abdication

To what extent has the US House of Representatives and Senate abdicated its constitutional responsibilities in the last 50 years? Some obvious examples are declaration of war powers and budget but there are more subtle legislative abdications.

What are possible explanations of this phenomenon and what are some possible mechanisms for “reconstitution” of these responsibilities?

To what extent has the executive and judicial branch assumed the void?  For instance, recent administrations  have expanded executive orders and made questionable recess appointments.  In some cases the court has redefined what might have been a legislative prerogative as in the health care “tax.”  In other cases, like recess appointments, the court has ruled against the executive over-reach while leaving the definition of “recess” ambiguous.

Yet the legislative branch continuously declines to assert its prerogative to legislate in a way which would reclaim it’s authority. (In this case the Congress might have itself defined “recess” legislatively.)  There are other examples where Congress has neglected opportunities to reassert  its power in relation to the other two branches.

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