In the spirit of the separation of powers and checks and balances, the Constitution provides Congress with the opportunity to check the powers of the president. The framers of the Constitution envisaged a situation where the country could elect a rogue president capable of making unwise decisions. In line with the above, the Constitution empowers Congress to check on the powers and functions of the president in various ways.
First, the president might be the country’s commander in chief of the military, but Congress has the power to appropriate funds and to declare war. In this regard, the president does not have the power to start arbitrary wars. Second, the executive takes various actions and implements projects across the country. However, Congress has the power to control all the money the executive requires (Sobel, 2019). Essentially, the president cannot spend or appropriate money as he or she wishes. Third, Congress is the arm of government that is considered the voice of the people. As a result, Congress has the Constitutional power to impeach a president who flagrantly abuses power.
Checks and balances are necessary for the country so that one arm of government does not abuse its power. Dividing the government into three arms and providing each one of them with specific powers is vital because it ensures one arm does not control too much power (). In some cases, one arm of government could yield too much power and make decisions that are detrimental to the welfare of the people and the country. Unchecked power could hurt the interests of the people, cause political and social chaos, and negate the gains the country has made over the centuries.
Sobel, S. (2019). How the U.S. Government Works. New York, NY: B.E.S. Publishing