WASHINGTON (Oct. 30, 2019) – President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria provoked bipartisan opposition in Congress. This highlights the ongoing struggle between the two branches to shape foreign policy.
In a new policy study, R Street Resident Senior Fellow on Governance James Wallner discusses how foreign policy is shaped by the struggle between Congress and the president.
Wallner identifies Congress’ considerable power to influence foreign policy over the president’s objections. He also points out that the president’s power to impend foreign policy requires him to persuade Congress to support his position, or to go public to persuade lawmakers’ constituents to tell their representatives to support the president.
Wallner concludes, “the president is dependent upon the legislature to approve his foreign policy preferences and to provide the necessary funding, and thus the ability to make law and the power of the purse gives Congress significant leverage to set the tone of American foreign policy—if they choose to use it.”