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Presidential and Congressional Decision Making Evaluation Essay

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Updated: Jun 10th, 2019


Democracy gives individuals and institutions the power to make decisions for the public. There is no way the views of all citizens can be addressed in national forums unless they have representatives. Most nations have three powerful arms of government that include the executive, congress and judiciary (Shulman 2006). This essay presents an evaluation of the presidential and congressional decision making processes and addresses their differences, effectiveness and current and future plans to make them work properly.

Similarities and Differences


The presidential form of decision making is characterized by various factors that include the following. First, this decision is made by an individual and the views presented to the public are perceived to be from the president. This makes it easy for people to evaluate the attitude, perception and reaction of their presidents towards issues of national importance (Spillane 2014). Therefore, it is necessary to explain that people will perceive their presidents to be good or bad depending on how they make decisions.

The source of their decisions is deemed to be their personality or stand on various issues. This means that if a president makes a wrong decision the public will judge him or her and not any other person or body. The congressional decision making process is made by a group of elected and nominated political leaders (Tan 2011). These members may be parliamentarians or senators and both groups have the right of making decisions for the public.

No individual is responsible for making decisions because there is the need for most members to be present to pass a resolution (Pomeranz 1998). Therefore, when a bad decision is passed in parliament the public will not blame one person for making it. The responsibility of blame will be on all the members of parliament that were present or absent during the passing of a bill. The decisions of this house are perceived to be the positions taken by most members of parliament and senators.

Secondly, the congress is a representation of various political parties and thus the decision and votes of every member is deemed to be the standpoint of a political party or constituency. There is the need to understand that congress members are elected by their people and others nominated by political parties. Therefore, they represent their constituents or political parties and this means that their decisions must reflect the needs of these two entities (Subhash 2009).

The congress constitutes members from different regions and political parties and the decisions made are usually in favor of the needs of a political party or constituents of a member of parliament. It is necessary to explain that sometimes members of parliament may be forced to support decisions that do not reflect the interests of their constituents or political parties. These situations may lead to reprimands or protests from political parties and the public respectively.

A president is a leader of a country and thus the decisions this individual makes must be for the benefit of all citizens irrespective of their political affiliations (Shulman 2006). The president should make decisions that do not reflect political inclinations and instead address the needs of the whole population to ensure the interests of all groups are given reasonable attention.

This means that presidents must shed off their political inclinations once they assume office and this is reflected in how they make key decisions. Most presidents do not participate in the activities of political parties that propelled them to power to avoid being subjective when making national decisions. It is necessary to explain that the decisions made by a president should portray neutrality to enable the public to distinguish between the political and national aspects of the presidency.

Moreover, presidents have advisory teams that ensure they do not make decisions that may be misinterpreted by the public and political parties.

Presidential advisory teams are important in guiding presidents when making key decisions. These teams are made of professionals from different fields to ensure presidents make informed decisions. Therefore, the decisions made by presidents are usually as a result of long consultation and guidance from advisors that have practical experience, academic and research knowledge on various issues (Tan 2011).

The president is in charge of hiring members of these bodies and thus nobody can influence their decisions pony this matter. These teams are responsible for advising presidents, but the final decision lies on the office holder. This means that the teams do not play crucial roles in determining what decisions presidents make during their terms in office.

However, they ensure they give proper guidance to presidents and advise them on the best ways to manage issues of national importance. Therefore, presidents have the right of making decisions they deem appropriate in their countries and nobody can stop them from doing this. Congressional decision making is determined by the positions taken by political parties or constituents.

Congressmen cannot make their own independent decisions because they are supposed to represent their political parties and constituents (Norburn 2007). This means that even if they have personal preferences and opinions regarding issues of national importance they cannot make decisions that do not tally with what their constituents or political parties expect from them.

Therefore, their hands are usually tied to other people who think that they their interests should be properly represented by congressmen. The need for congressmen to consult constituents and political parties before making decisions shows they do not have powers to determine the choices of their actions (Tan 2011).

In addition, a presidential decision making is determined by national issues that affect people from different political backgrounds. Presidents are obliged to listen to their citizens, regardless of their political affiliations and make sure their decisions reflect the needs of all citizens.

The positions taken by presidents in international forums represent the stands of their citizens. Therefore, presidents are mandated to address issues that affect the lives of all citizens in all corners of their countries and not just a handful of those that belong to their political parties (Tan 2011).

Presidents are elected by political parties, but this does not give them the power to address issues that affect their members only. A president is a national figure and thus must look at things from a non political perspective to ensure the needs of their citizens are addressed. There is the need for presidential advisory teams to ensure their presidents avoid issues that portray political interests.

This will help presidents to make non-partisan decisions that will improve the lives of all citizens. Congressional decision making is to the needs of their members. There is no independency in congressional decision making. In addition, members of the congress make decisions that are limited to their areas of jurisdiction and this includes constituencies and political parties (Tan 2011).

Members of parliament represent individuals of specific regions and thus they may not have the power to make decisions that do not affect their people. This means that the power of a member of parliament is limited to the areas an individual represents. This explains why not all members of parliament are usually present when making some decisions.

They do not see the need to attend sessions that are of insignificant value to their constituents. In addition, the decision made by a congress may not affect all regions. However, presidential decisions affect the lives of all citizens irrespective of their locations. Therefore, congressional decisions are limited in scope and do not affect the entire country like how the presidential one does.


Presidential decision making faces serious challenges due to the nature of this position. First, most people perceive the decisions of this office to represent the interest of political parties that won presidential elections (Norburn 2007).

Therefore, there are criticisms that face this office because people do not understand that presidents are national figures and do not represent their political parties while in office. Political parties that win presidential elections face criticism when their presidents make decisions that may be perceived to have vested interests (Tan 2011).

On the other hand, congressional decisions do not face a lot of criticisms because people understand that they represent the interests of different groups like political parties and constituencies. Members of parliament do not make independent decisions and this means that there are no chances of criticisms from their political parties or constituents. Therefore, they do not expect negative responses from those they represent.

In addition, presidential decision making is influenced by opinion polls and interest groups. This means that presidents may make decisions that do not reflect their thoughts, but address the needs of the public.

Opinion polls and interest groups are very influential in determining the decisions that presidents make and thus they rely on the mind of their citizens to make resolutions. Therefore, the decisions made by presidents cannot be said to be totally independent from any external forces; in fact the public determines and shapes the thoughts of its presidents (Tan 2011). A president who makes unpopular decisions may face demonstrators supported by interest groups.

Presidential and congressional decision making determines the future of office bearers in different positions. People judge the performance of presidents and members of parliament, depending on the importance and nature of the decisions they make. Those willing to retain their seats in future elections must make decisions that make their constituents happy even if they do not have any economic or social value.

It is necessary to explain that political decision makers have an uncertain future because they are judged depending on their contributions in formulating policies (Stone 2013). Therefore, they are sometimes forced to make decisions that make no sense provided their constituents and political parties are happy.

It is necessary to explain that the electorate has the power of influencing both presidential and congressional decisions. However, presidents serving their second terms and congressmen that do not wish to be reelected ignore the demands of their people because they are of no value to them. Therefore, they do not mind what their people will think about them and this motivates these members to make decisions that they think are suitable or represent their interests (Stone 2013).

Presidents face serious challenges when they make decisions that may affect their political parties. Political parties that produce presidents expect them to favor their members or interests regardless of their consequences on the public. Therefore, they think that presidents will listen and follow their advice even if they are wrong; however, this is usually not the case as most presidents ignore the political aspects when making decisions (Tan 2011).

Most congressmen and presidents are usually accused of dictatorship and betrayal when they fail to obey the orders issued by their political parties. Some issues presented by political parties aim at frustrating opponents and promoting their interests and presidents usually ignore such moves and this makes them to be perceived to be dictators.

Lastly, both the presidential and congressional decision making processes face the risk of rejection due to political interference (Reuer 2011). Politics play significant roles in determining the fate of bills and other policies. The concept and application of democratic rights of political parties and individuals have been misused to interfere with the processes of making decisions by institutions or people. People think that their opinions should be given preference to those of others because democracy dictates so.

Political parties misuse their constitutional right and force ruling parties to experience serious challenges that interfere with the implementation of their manifestos (Spillane 2014). Presidents face serious challenges from opposition parties that rarely approve of their decisions.

They think that they must oppose all decisions and actions of the ruling party and this slows down the process of decision making. There are chances that nations that think they are democratic rarely make decisions on time due to interference from political parties and individuals aligned to the opposition.


The effectiveness of the presidential decision making process is determined by various factors. First, presidents or heads of states have constitutional rights of making some decisions including appointment of public office bearers and commanding key military bodies to undertake operations. The congress has no power over this issue and this makes the president to have control over other decision making organs in a country.

Presidents have the right to ensure that there is security in their countries and that people enjoy their lives (Reuer 2011). Therefore, he can make decisions that affect the lives of citizens in all regions regardless of what congressmen think about them. However, some decisions cannot be made by presidents without consultation or approval from other bodies like the houses of representatives.

For instance, the American president cannot command the military to attack other nations or conduct their operations there if he does not have the approval from the upper and lower houses of representatives (Shulman 2006). This means that in this case the president has no power of making independent decisions. Therefore, there are some decisions that the president cannot make without the approval of these houses while others do not require their consent.

The congress has a constitutional right of discussing important issues that affect a country and making decisions that ensure citizens live secure, healthy and affordable life. This body has the responsibility of passing bills and making sure that necessary amendments are made to make laws appropriate for the promotion of human life and development (Reuer 2011).

The congress does not need the support of a president when making laws and this means that it is independent from his or her influence. However, the president must approve all bills passed by members of parliament before they become laws. The bills will be returned to the house for further debate and amendments if the president refuses to approve it.

The above discussions show that the presidential and congressional decision making processes are not independent and each body relies on the support of the other to function properly. However, it is necessary to understand that not all issues require the approval of the other department to survive (Tan 2011).

The congress may have more power over the president when it comes to issues of impeachment when a president makes repeated mistakes. Therefore, there are instances where these parties have equal influence over others, but sometimes they function independently.


Presidential and congressional decision making produces both bad and good outcomes. The presidential decision making process aims at establishing appropriate ways of ensuring citizens get access to quality public service. This includes unrestricted access to justice, security, education and proper medical services.

There is the need to explain that presidents are in charge of their countries and thus anything that happens to their citizens (regardless of their political inclinations) falls on their shoulders (Subhash 2009). Therefore, they make decisions that do not portray political inclinations because they are supposed to be national representatives.

Presidential advisors help presidents to make decisions that will attract approval from members of public and civil groups. This means that they ensure presidents are not influenced by personal or political interests when making national decisions. This makes their decisions to be effective in ensuring people have access to quality services from civil servants and public offices (Reuer 2011). Therefore, the presidential decision making process is effective if it addresses national issues without political interference.

On the other hand, it is likely that a presidential decision making process may not be effective. First, this process centers power to an individual and thus there are possibilities that the person may not make appropriate decisions due to lack of consultation and debates (Subhash 2009).

The process may be influenced by limited knowledge and experience on various issues and this may make a president to make decisions that lack professional understanding. In addition, some presidents do not like following advises from other people or institutions because they think that they know better than others. Therefore, they make irrational decisions that expose their countries to ridicule and lower the ratings of their performance.

Congressional decision making is a complicated process because it requires consultation and debates. There are higher chances that congressional decision making processes can produce good outcomes because they involve debates and consultations.

Therefore, appropriate measures are taken before decisions are made and this helps the public to get quality services (Reuer 2011). In addition, this process takes a lot of time before decisions are made. This gives decision makers the time to revise their presentation and evaluate the effectiveness of their policies.

However, this process may not be suitable in producing good outcomes because members present the interests of their political parties and constituents. The interests of any of these may not be appropriate in promoting national development.

Congress men have used this process to express their political interests and frustrate their opponents. In addition, the success of any decisions determined by the support it gets from the members of various bodies; therefore, it is not a democratic way of making decisions and its outcomes may have negative impacts on citizens (Stone 2013).

The congressional decision making process is more effective than the presidential one since it has higher chances of producing the expected outcomes. In addition, it represents the views of ordinary citizens and political parties and not individuals.

Current Measures

The congressional decision making process is expected to improve due to the introduction of civil and social awareness in parliaments. It is necessary to explain that traditionally most parliamentarians did not know their roles and how to execute various policies to ensure the interests of their people are addressed (Pomeranz 1998).

The need to ensure congressmen pass appropriate bills and make good decisions will improve because of the introduction of training programs that will help these members to understand the impacts of their actions on ordinary citizens. This has helped them to differentiate political and national issues and minimized irrelevant debate and bills in parliament. Nations are struggling to equip their parliaments with modern technology to ensure communication between the public and congressmen is improved.

The presidential decision making process is undergoing tremendous changes to ensure the president makes rational decisions. Most presidents listen to their advisory bodies and consult relevant departments before making decisions (Shulman 2006).

This ensures the interest of the public is given the first priority over that of an individual or political party. In addition, presidents have realized that their positions as public figures means that they must ensure their citizens live better lives and have access to what they need. This means that they have ignored their personal and political party’s influences when making decisions.


There is the need for a congressional decision making process to take a shorter time than what is happening in most parliaments. Bills should be discussed and approved within a short and reasonable time to avoid piling pressure on members of parliament.

In addition, congressional decision making processes should be independent of any political interests to ensure there is objectivity in discussions. Moreover, the veto power of the president should be minimized to ensure the congress is not arm-twisted to make irrational decisions. Lastly, there should be guidelines to guide the contribution of members in the congress to ensure all members are allowed to present their views.

There is the need for the presidential decision making process to involve other stakeholders before making conclusions. Presidents should not be allowed to make independent decisions without consulting stakeholders. The time for issuing presidential decrees and resolutions should be increased to ensure there is proper consolation and evaluation of the decisions made before the public is informed about them.


Presidential decision refers to the decrees, actions, orders, suggestions and recommendations made by a head of state. Presidents are allowed to make independent decisions that affect the lives of their citizens provided they abide by the regulations of their constitutions. A congressional decision refers to the resolutions passed in either the lower or upper house of representatives.

These decisions are made after members of these houses conduct debates to evaluate the impacts and importance of issues that affect the lives of ordinary citizens. The presidential and congressional decisions affect the lives of ordinary citizens and thus the people responsible for them must ensure they put the interests of the public before self.


Norburn, D 2007, ‘A Four Nation of the Relationship between Presidential and Congressional decision making processes’, Journal of International Politics, 21(4), pp. 451-468.

Pomeranz, F 1998, ‘Corporate Governance: Opportunity for Institutions and individuals’, The Journal of Political Management, 7(3), pp. 25-29.

Reuer, J 2011, ‘Managing in the Turbulent Political World: Presidential and Congressional decision making’, Journal of International Politics, 30, pp. 219-222.

Shulman, R 2006, ‘Corporate Treatment of Political Decisions, Journal of International Politics, 14(2), pp. 83-88.

Spillane, C 2014, ‘The challenges of political decision making processes in America’, Businessweek, 6(12), pp. 5-13.

Stone, B 2013, ‘An introduction to decision making in modern political governance’, Journal of International Politics, 11(21), pp. 11-12.

Subhash, K 2009, ‘Political economy and decision making processes’, Journal of International Politics, 12(2), pp. 113-129.

Tan, W 2011, ‘Politics and Corporate Governance, Investment and Firm Valuation in Asian Emerging Markets’, Journal of International Management and Accounting, 22 (3), pp. 246-273.

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