KEY POINTS

  • Bipartisan House Committee wants to take back power from the president 
  • Concerns over presidential overreach have intensified with President Trump
  • The committee is headed by a Replublican and a Democrat

A Congressional panel is getting to work examining how the legislature has abdicated power to the executive branch in the Trump administration, and how they go about taking it back.

The Hill reports that the House Rules Committee, headed by Chairman Jim McGovern, Democrat from Massachusetts, will examine the gradual decades-long “usurping” of congressional authority, which many say has intensified ever since Trump took office in 2017.

For his own part, McGovern claims that the problem goes beyond Trump’s consistent battles with the Democratic-controlled house.

“For decades, one Congress after the next has abdicated its authority over fundamental matters like declaring war, rulemaking, and utilizing its power under the National Emergencies Act," McGovern said in a statement. "It has happened regardless of which party-controlled Congress or sat in the Oval Office."

McGovern’s concerns are also felt and embraced across the aisle. He has found an ally in Republican Oklahoma representative Tom Cole, a strict institutionalist who has expressed a desire to see Congress reassert his constitutionally designated authority in an era where checks and balances seem to be increasingly eroding.

"Though the shift has been gradual, I have long been concerned by Congress ceding some of its authority as well as presidents of both parties claiming power that belongs to the legislative branch,” Cole said.

Congress has long been concerned over its loosening grip. In the aftermath of Watergate, they stepped in to enact a series of laws designed to prevent presidential abuses of power, including the War Powers Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. These laws have been instrumental in helping the United States remain a nation of laws.

Concerns over presidential overreach tend to shift, depending upon who’s in office. During the Obama administration, Republicans claimed his executive orders continued an abuse of power, and the same goes for Democrats and Trump.

joint session of congress Pictured: Joint session of Congress, Jan. 23, 2016. Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters