Congressional Gridlock

The Congressional Gridlock

The congressional gridlock entails a situation where the Congress cannot perform its constitutional duties because of political differences between the two leading political parties in the United States; the Democrats and the Republicans. Moreover, the situation is made worse by radical political affiliation to each opposing sides to the extent that legislators can bring down a bill purely meant for the good of the general public just because a senator or member of the House of Representatives proposed or drafted it. Moreover, the other compelling situation which possibly precipitates the emergence of gridlock is having a different party forming the government while the other controlling the Congress. The paper aims to look at the causes of the congressional gridlock, the solutions, and two examples of gridlocks which have taken place in the recent past.

Causes of the Congressional Gridlock

The American political framework

The American presidential system grants the executive and the Congress independent legislative powers mark the beginning of the hustle and strive for supremacy between the two separate branches of the government. These separation of powers has a massive potential of stimulating an in-built and structured Congressional gridlock when each arm is run by one of the two opposing political parties (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 38). According to the American constitution, a bill must be adopted into law after debating, and voting takes place at both chambers of the legislature, i.e., the Senate and the House of Representatives. The situation creates a congressional dreadlock when each of the two institutions controls either the Senate or the lower house. Besides, the congressional processes can further hamper reforms. For instance, the filibuster rule of the Senate states that 60 out of the total 100 members of the Senate must endorse a bill for it to go to the voting stage (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 39). Further, in the House, the speaker who doubles as the majority leader has the capacity to stop a proposal from moving to the voting stage (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 39). The two procedures are some of the examples which can lead to the build-up of the Congress.

Political polarization

According to many political analysts, a congressional gridlock arises because of massive divisions between the Republican and Democratic parties where it is difficult to reach a compromise between the two sides. They view agreement not as a virtue but as a liability (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 39). The recent occurrences which have seen the opposition to even the most essential bills explain the rift between the two parties and their unwillingness to strike compromises for the good of the country. Talking of political polarization implies that the two factions are much away from the political continuum as their policy preference reveal (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 39).

Tea Time

The Tea Party crusade arose in 2009 after the election of President Obama; the first black American to assume the presidency in the United States, a Democrat president viewed as more liberal than George Bush, his predecessor. The Tea Party holds a perspective seen as an ideological outlier because of stern opposition to tax raises and backing of a moderate federal administration realized through considerable reductions in central government expenditure on social packages and strict immigration laws (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 40). The Tea party movement’s decline to negotiate and reach a compromise also contrasts and hampers American pragmatism thus leading to the rise of a gridlock. The Tea Party’s influence is far-reaching and is measured by the number of elected officials through the Republican Party. It has a significant impact on who wins the Republican party nominations, and with that power, it can influence the Republican's adherence to its firm stand on its ideologies. Tea Party gets credit for reforming the whole Republicans towards the hard-edged far right. It has been instrumental in frightening Republican leaders including the who ones who do not buy into its extreme beliefs. Thus, the Tea party is one of the reasons which explain frequent occurrences of congressional gridlocks (Barber, Michael, and Nolan 40).

Solutions to the Congressional Gridlock

The political gridlock can only be solved through logical handling of issues which result in their occurrence in the first place. The two ways of bringing a solution to the challenge include the following:

First, deductive logic

First, deductive logic must come into play when the Congress debates critical policy concerns. The technique of deductive reasoning borrowed from Socrates views the proposed solutions as the foundations on which the legislature can identify with and avoids longer and hard-bipartisan stands which compromise the enactment of significant policy matters (Teter 17). Deductive reasoning contrasts the belief-based and subjective rationale held by the two parties and which has dominated recent policy motions. For instance, it was difficult to agree on the policy proposal to impose higher taxes on wealthy people in America. The legislators could not agree and it forms one of the examples of the debates which results in a gridlock. The point of concern and which warrants a solution to the political impasses is the presentation of ideas in a fashionable and orderly manner and use of logic thus leading to a win-win situation; one on which the lawmakers can agree irrespective of party affiliations (Teter 17).

The second strategy is encouraging politicians to embrace a listening culture

The second strategy is encouraging politicians to embrace a listening culture by departing from turning deaf ears during motions. It is the starting point, and it allows the people involved to understand what the opposite side is presenting and if it is worth consideration (Teter 17). Listening will enable the Congress to presentations by both parties to digest the prospective benefits and make an informed decision during voting rather than concentrating on the negative aspects and then rejecting the bills just because it came from the rival group. Using cost-benefit analysis can be a better approach rather than making a decision using long-standing ideologies held by the Republicans and the Democrats over the years. The study can aid in making informed choices and thus assist in making informed decisions (Teter 18).

Two Cases of Congressional Gridlock in the Recent Past

Finally, the document looks at two examples of motions which elicited congressional gridlocks. The issue of the tax cut by president Obama administration: the tax legislation was first enacted by the Bush administration, and it was scheduled to expire on the 31st December 2012 but the Obama administration sort to renew the tax cut for Americans earning less than $250,000 (Tolson 51). President Obama and the Democratic Party firmly supported the bill, but the Republicans only wanted the tax reduction to affect all people whether rich or poor. Irrespective of the quest from both sides of the divide to reduce the tax rates, the gridlock almost stopped the legislators from passing the law (Tolson 51). Another example is the recent attempt by the Trump administration to repeal the Obama care health initiative which President Trump termed as incomprehensive because of its skewness towards increasing demand for healthcare without an adequate supply of resources and personnel to manage the demand. President Trump might have had good intentions of revising the Obama care policy but the democrats voted against the legislation hence failed to pass through the congress.

Works cited

Barber, Michael, and Nolan McCarty. "Causes and consequences of polarization." Political Negotiation: A Handbook 37 (2015). pp. 37-49

Teter, Michael J. "Gridlock, legislative supremacy, and the problem of arbitrary inaction." Notre Dame L. Rev. 88 (2012): 2217. pp. 16-29

Tolson, Franita. "The union as a safeguard against faction: Congressional gridlock as state empowerment." Notre Dame L. Rev. 88 (2012): 2267.pp. 50-56

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