Compose a 1500 words assignment on why is it difficult (most of the time) for presidents to get congress to pass their domestic policy agenda and what presidents do to improve their odds of success. Needs to be plagiarism free! Presidents are often confronted by the tension of a needed domestic policy change that is tempered with the deliberateness of the US legislative system, and must rely on the traditional impact of the opinion of the American voter.
One of the obstacles that impede a President’s ability to change domestic policy is the realization that domestic policy must adhere to the principle of ‘government by the people’. While this ideal is as valid today as it was two centuries ago, it has been tempered by the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups. While the power of public opinion can speak through the president, “lobbying gives special advantages to vocal vested interests and that negotiations carried on behind closed doors can override the.wishes of the whole community in public decision making” (Public Governance 5). Lobbying can influence key congressional votes that may be required to enact a piece of legislation. While a President has the power to veto unfavorable domestic policy bills, lobbyists have the power to kill legislation that may be favorable to the President before it ever gets out of committee. Special interests have undermined the principle of ‘government by the people’ and influence peddling has presented Presidents with a significant obstacle to their ability to pass domestic legislation.
Even without the undue influence of consultants, lobbyists, and campaign donations domestic policy is routinely subjected to an increased scrutiny that is based on ideological concerns. We may hear this characterized as the fight between the left and right, between liberals and conservatives, or the more extreme use of the terms free market and socialism. These opposing philosophical viewpoints have made it difficult to craft legislation that will be favored by one camp, while not being totally unacceptable to the other. Health care has languished in the realm of inaction for decades as the critical need for legislation is outweighed by the fear of creeping socialism. During the early years of the Clinton Presidency, a consensus could not be reached on health care as the support broke along ideological lines and compromise could not be reached. According to Light, “Central to a President’s success is conciliation not challenge. cooperation, not conflict” (291). While the details of a health care program can be compromised, ideology does not have the political flexibility that is required to be negotiated. Even conservative European health care policies are typically significantly more liberal than in the US, yet Clinton’s relatively conservative health care bill became bogged down on the issue of ideological differences, rather than on the content of the legislation (Starr). Domestic policy is often burdened with ideology as socially progressive Presidents confront the traditional free market forces of the US political system.
Presidential domestic policies are by definition grand and ambitious projects that may be impeded simply because of their complexity and cost. These Presidential projects may bear the Presidents name and will become a significant part of the administration’s historical legacy.