Do nations really have libertarian governments?
USA political system
Dr. Josef Braml has been a research assistant in the USA / Transatlantic Relations program of the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) in Berlin since October 2006. He is also the editor of the "International Politics Yearbook". Previously, he was a research fellow at the Science and Politics Foundation (2002-2006), project manager at the Aspen Institute Berlin (2001), visiting scholar at the German-American Center (2000), consultant at the World Bank (1999), guest scholar at the Brookings Institution (1998 -1999), Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and Legislative Advisor to the US House of Representatives (1997-1998). Training stations: Vocational training as a banker; Military service engineer battalion 240; Abitur via the second educational path; Semester abroad at the Université de Nice - Sophia Antipolis; Languages, economic and cultural studies (diploma) at the University of Passau (1997); Doctorate in political science as the main subject and sociology and French cultural studies as minor subjects at the University of Passau (2001).
His areas of expertise:
American Concepts of the World Order and Transatlantic Relations; US security, energy and trade policy; Economic and domestic political framework conditions of American foreign policy; Comparative governance analysis, including German and US government system; Religion and Politics in the USA
Contact: [email protected], https://dgap.org/de/think-tank/experten/203
Horizontal separation of powers
The main difference between the US (presidential) checks and balances system and parliamentary systems of government such as that of the Federal Republic of Germany lies in the different relationship between the legislature and the executive. In contrast to the US President, who is personally elected through a nationwide election act and can thus claim its own legitimacy, the German Chancellor is elected indirectly by the majority in parliament. In the political debate, too, the top of the German executive must be able to trust that their political initiatives will be supported by their parliamentary group or coalition in the Bundestag. The stability of both the government / executive and that of the parliamentary majority depends on a close and trusting communication relationship between the two. This "entanglement of powers" characterizes parliamentary systems of government.
While in the US system the legislature as a whole competes with the executive for power, "opposition" in the parliamentary system is limited to the minority in parliament who do not support the government. For the governing party / coalition in particular, party or faction discipline is fundamentally necessary in order to ensure the functionality of its own government, and indeed of the parliamentary system of government as a whole. Since the executive and parliamentary majority are linked in a political community, individual members of parliament have a self-interest in not deviating from the party line in important votes and in submitting to parliamentary group discipline. Election procedures, party funding, candidate recruitment and the high division of labor in parliament provide further incentives for party-disciplined behavior.
In contrast, in the USA the political future of individual members of parliament and senators is largely independent of that of the president; Their (re) electoral chances primarily depend on the support in their own constituency or individual state. Due to the electoral system and the political funding, as "political entrepreneurs" in the USA they are primarily responsible for their re-election and may also be personally liable for their voting behavior in Congress because they cannot hide behind party discipline from interest groups and electorates . In the legislative debate, the US parties lack resources and sanction mechanisms in order to shape the legislative process in terms of party discipline (see p. 44 f.).
Power of the purse: the legislature
Their different constitutional characteristics favor competition between the two chambers and thus require a further form of violence control. A longtime insider sums up the rivalry between the House of Representatives and the Senate: For Christopher Matthews, the former chief of staff of the legendary Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O'Neill, there is a kind of invisible partition between the two chambers. Senators could spend years on Capitol Hill without ever stepping on the other side of the Capitol - if it weren't for the State of the Union speeches that senators and MPs attend in the larger plenary Assembly of the House of Representatives. There would be no really important reason to fall from grace other than to go over to the House of Representatives as a senator. On the other hand, for fear of humiliation, an MP would never dare to enter the venerable halls of the Senate (quoted in: Ross Baker, House and Senate, New York / London 1995, pp. 14 f.).
The status difference between the two is enormous: A senator represents an entire state, so his level of awareness is correspondingly much greater. His longer term of six years and exclusive rights in legislation (for example the filibuster's ability to block (see p. 13), with which he can hold up the entire legislative process, give him more power potential. In contrast, a member of parliament represents only a much smaller sub-unit State; he has to stand for election every two years and is known only to a few outside his constituency, unless he holds a leadership position. More than just moving up the hierarchy in the House of Representatives, most MPs secretly dream of it, at some point One day to become a senator. In the history of parliament in the USA, however, there has not yet been a senator who ran for the "lower house" (house of representatives) after leaving the "upper house" (Senate).
But the constitution forces both to work together. In order for a bill to be submitted to the President for signature, it must be passed in identical form in both chambers. The intensive exchange required for this often takes place via the congressional staff of the senators and members of parliament; in many cases only later, in a committee convened ad hoc for a specific bill: in the conference committee, the representatives appointed by the party leaderships of both chambers then negotiate in a smaller group in order to find a compromise.
The main permanent committees in Congress for the 113th parliamentary term, 2013-2014
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (http://www.agriculture.senate.gov/)
Armed Services (http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/)
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (http://www.banking.senate.gov/public/)
Commerce, Science, and Transportation (http://commerce.senate.gov/public/)
Energy and Natural Resources (http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/)
Environment and Public Works (http://epw.senate.gov/public/)
Foreign Relations (http://www.foreign.senate.gov/)
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (http://www.help.senate.gov/)
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/)
Rules and Administration (http://www.rules.senate.gov/public/)
Small Business and Entrepreneurship (http://www.sbc.senate.gov/public/)
Veterans ’Affairs (http://www.veterans.senate.gov/)
House of Representatives
Armed Services (http://armedservices.house.gov/)
Education and the Workforce (http://edworkforce.house.gov/)
Energy and Commerce (http://energycommerce.house.gov/)
Financial Services (http://financialservices.house.gov/)
Foreign Affairs (http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/)
Homeland Security (http://homeland.house.gov/)
House Administration (http://cha.house.gov/)
Natural Resources (http://naturalresources.house.gov/)
Oversight and Government Reform (http://oversight.house.gov/)
Science, Space, and Technology (http://science.house.gov/)
Small Business (http://smallbusiness.house.gov/)
Transportation and Infrastructure (http://transportation.house.gov/)
Veterans ’Affairs (http://veterans.house.gov/)
Ways and Means (http://waysandmeans.house.gov/)
United States Congress, website: http://beta.congress.gov/committees
Congress staff and external expertise
Legislative Staff: The legislative staff prepare their members of parliament or senators in terms of content for committee or plenary meetings, write speeches and press releases, draft drafts and amendments in the legislative process, prepare statements and questions for public hearings. In order to be able to assess interests before important votes, they meet with government representatives, entrepreneurs, lobbyists and representatives of civil society organizations.
Professional Staff: The chairmen of the committees and sub-committees determined by the ruling party and their deputies (ranking members) from the minority party also have experienced, mostly older experts, the so-called professional staff, who coordinate the content-related work in the committees, as well as external experts , Invite interest groups and government officials to the public hearings.
Scientific Services: In order to arm themselves against the extensive expertise of the White House and the government bureaucracy, Senators, MPs and their staff can rely on very professional scientific support services such as the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a kind of audit office of Congress, or access the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for budget issues.
External idea and personnel agencies: Finally, experts from policy-oriented research institutes, so-called think tanks, and professors at universities also provide policy advice.In particular, the so-called advocacy think tanks (advocacy tanks) by the American political scientist Kent Weaver, which take sides for certain particular interests or a political camp, have been cultivating intensive personal contacts with members of the Congress since the 1980s, even maintaining a personal database and providing active support in recruiting . Many think tankers have gained practical experience in the congress; conversely, numerous employees who were previously employed in a think tank work on Capitol Hill.
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