Rethinking our Democracy
The inauguration of President Biden offers an opportunity for reevaluating and reforming the relationship between Congress and the presidency.
Relations between Congress and the presidency are very nearly broken. The legislative process has been mired in gridlock. Unilateral directives have regularly substituted for laws. Unless Congress and the president find ways to work with one another, the federal government cannot hope to meet the pressing modern challenges that stand before it.
In the lead up and aftermath of the 2020 election, Protect Democracy—in partnership with the Center for Effective Government at the University of Chicago—launched a joint initiative to present, refine, and develop momentum for institutional reforms that focus on relationships between Congress and the presidency.
Rethinking Our Democracy focused on several key topics for discussion, including:
Strengthening Congress’s power over delegated authorities
Improving the legislative process
Reforming the National Emergencies Act
Creating additional checks on executive power
In partnership with the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, we published an explanatory series of reform proposals that promote new legislative ideas to strengthen democratic institutions and make the case for broad reforms.
Monkey Cage blog articles
Read the articles from our series on institutional reform here.
- “Can Congress reclaim authority it has handed over to the president? It’s trying.” by Mort Halperin (Open Society) and Soren Dayton (Protect Democracy)
- “Trump won’t cooperate with congressional oversight. Here are Congress’s options.” by Liz Hempowicz (Project on Government Oversight) and Anne Tindall (Protect Democracy)
- “Members of Congress have lost control over spending” by Molly Reynolds (The Brookings Institution)
- “How a stronger presidency could lead to more effective government” by William Howell (University of Chicago) and Terry Moe (Stanford University)
- “Members of Congress are specializing less often. That makes them less effective.” by Craig Volden (University of Virginia) and Alan E. Wiseman (Vanderbilt University)
- “How Congress is pushing back against Trump’s unprecedented use of emergency powers” by Liza Goitein (Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law)
- “Only Congress has the authority to declare war. Can it take that power back from the presidency?” by Saikrishna Prakash (University of Virginia School of Law)