Congressional Oversight in American Politics Essay

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Stemming from a loose interpretation of the Constitution – and specifically the necessary and proper clause -- congressional oversight is one of many enumerated powers bestowed upon Congress per Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. As the legislative body, Congress is charged with overseeing the inner workings of the Executive Branch and its federal agencies as a part of a system of checks and balances. However, as previously mentioned, this power is one of the implied powers of Congress, thus making it very difficult for many to delineate rightful oversight from reckless meandering. In the Constitution, for example, there is no singular mention of a definitive power such as “congressional oversight.” Consequently, there is no …show more content…
That same year, Congress would tap into its oversight powers once again as it launched a full-fledged investigation against Nixon and top White House officials who used their political positions for political advantage in the Watergate scandal. Citing “executive privilege,” Nixon asserted that he, as president, was immune from legislative oversight and that "the inherent power of the President to safeguard the security of the nation" authorized him to order wiretaps without warrants.
This is not the only way that the legislative body exerts their oversight powers over the executive body, however. In fact, there is a host of other means for ensuring that the decisions of the nation’s executive branch leaders are checked. For example, the Congress (the Senate specifically) is charged with advising and offering consent for presidential nominations. Congress is also given the power to bring charges against members of the executive branch and possibly remove them through impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives and trials in the Senate. The annual State of the Union Address can even be considered a medium through which the Senate exercises its oversight powers. As dictated by Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such…