Make the Presidency Work! FAQs

Is the presidency broken?

The office of the president is mired in inefficiency, just like Congress. When our founding fathers set out to create the Constitution, they made inefficiency inherent in the system — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in the past 30 years, the power of the presidency has been scaled back, to the point that the president can’t make the tough decisions America expects its leader to make.

This action plan isn’t changing the checks and balances that our founding fathers created, it’s merely designed to make the office of the president less insular, and less political.

Is this plan just expanding presidential power? Are you changing the limits set out in the Constitution?

No — we appreciate the limits to power set out in the Constitution at our nation’s founding. But the power of the presidency has been scaled back over the past 30 years, and the president isn’t able to make the tough decisions we expect of our leader.

While respecting historical precedent, this plan aims to change only outdated rules and procedures that make the office of the president inefficient.

Why does this matter?

For the next few months, America will be focused on who our next president will be, and what he wants to do once in office. But what matters isn’t what he wants to do, it’s what he can do. And without these reforms, he can’t do enough.

How would these reforms be enacted?

There are four different mechanisms that can be used to turn the No Labels Make the Presidency Work! proposals into reality:

Codes of Conduct: Members of the government simply need to embrace this proposal as a norm of behavior.

Leadership: This proposal can be imposed unilaterally by House or Senate leadership.

Rules Change: This proposal requires a change of House and Senate rules, which can be made effective when the new Congress is seated in 2013.

New Law: This proposal requires a new law to be passed by the House and Senate.

What’s the difference between the No Labels “Line-Item Veto with a Twist” and the line-item veto that was ruled unconstitutional?

In 1996, the line-item veto — or the power for the president to veto specific items in a bill — was ruled unconstitutional. But we offer it with a twist: The president can suggest a veto for specific items in a bill, but then the parts of the bill that were vetoed must go back to Congress and be approved in an up or down vote. That way, the president can use his executive authority to get rid of wasteful items in bills, but Congress still has the power of oversight.

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