For a number of years now, it has become increasingly apparent that Congress is broken. It has gradually evolved into a performative body wherein individual representatives are stripped of any ability to create change.
A decade ago, Speaker Boehner restricted and Speaker Ryan subsequently ended the ability for members of Congress to submit legislative amendments. Since then, as the new house rules were maintained by every subsequent speaker regardless of their party, congressional power has effectively been controlled by the speaker of the House, the president, and the senate majority leader.
During this time, the process of setting rules has been gradually taken over by regulatory agencies instead of being the remit of elected representatives. To date, this dysfunctional phenomenon is only increasing, allowing unelected bureaucrats to do most of the lawmaking.
On top of this, party leadership has been consolidating power over individual members. Those who do not tow the line face consequences. Indeed, members who follow their individual judgment will see themselves stripped of committee assignments and even have their party turn against them by funding challengers in their primary elections.
Alongside an unprecedented consolidation of executive power, all of this stokes the flames of hyperpartisan polarization. Furthermore, it is instrumental in creating a growing rift in the form of the culture wars.
America’s toxic polarization only serves to embolden political leaders on both sides to seek more power over their opponents, whom they perceive as an existential threat. Yet expanding the scope of government power, regardless of who is wielding it, is fundamentally detrimental to liberty.
At LibertyCon International, former Congressman Justin Amash will sit down with Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward to discuss how a broken political process and the concentration of power in a few congressional leaders has resulted in this increased polarization and greater distrust of governing institutions.
If you’d like to attend LibertyCon International for this discussion and many more, be sure to click on the button below to register and book your room with the discounted rate. You can use the code LEARNLIBERTY for a 50% discount on your tickets!
This piece was first published on the Students For Liberty website.
This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions.