The Federal Government Of The United States Congress

956 WordsApr 3, 20174 Pages
The United States Congress, comprised of the House of Representatives and the Senate, composes the Legislative Branch of the federal government of the United States. Congress is supposed to be extremely effective at enacting legislation dealing with major national issues, both at the domestic level and the foreign level. However, in recent years, members of Congress with differing views have not been able to find middle ground and enact much-needed legislation, although they often did in the past. This inaction, or congressional gridlock, has existed for a while but has become an extremely prevalent issue in recent years. In fact, according to a paper by Sarah Binder, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, the frequency of legislative…show more content…
In order for legislation to be enacted, it must pass both the House and the Senate. This means that it is much more complicated to pass laws in bicameral bodies than unicameral bodies (Lenz and Holman). Additionally, constitutional rules, such as needing a supermajority rather than a simple majority, can cause gridlock (Smith). If Congress only needed a simple majority, as in only needing fifty-one percent of votes to be in favor of the bill, rather than a two-thirds supermajority, then Congress would be able to enact a much larger amount of legislation. In 2016, there was a prime example of congressional gridlock. Senate Democrats blocked a bill that was intended to fight the Zika virus, an infection that can cause birth defects in pregnant women, multiple times. According to the New York Times, the reason they blocked the bill was because they wanted Republicans to “drop an effort to block Planned Parenthood from receiving money to combat the mosquito-borne disease” (Huetteman and Tavernise). Historically, Republicans have typically gone against Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health care provider, while Democrats have routinely supported the organization. Since the organization would not receive money to combat the disease, which although typically transmitted via mosquito bite can also be transmitted through sexual activity, Democrats simply refused to pass the bill. The
Open Document