chapter  8
11 Pages

Congress

Separate but not equal
ByDiana J. Mendoza, Mark R. Thompson

In this chapter it is argued that Congress is largely subordinated to the president due to its reliance on pork barrel distributed by the chief executive and the lack of programmatic political parties. The elite character of representatives and senators contributes to Congress’s reactive character, aimed at protecting the oligarchy’s interests rather than passing innovative legislation. Yet Congress does have some tools with which to challenge presidents: congressional oversight hearings, impeachment/conviction, and other powers. It also has occasionally passed landmark legislation, particularly in areas of gender equality in which it has been successfully lobbied by the women’s movement.