Policy Studies Cybersecurity Policy

Congress and Foreign Policy: An Actionable Agenda for Empowered Engagement in 2021

Key Points

Policy influence over headline issues of the day is the wrong standard for Congress to measure its effectiveness in foreign policy. Instead, a new standard of “empowered engagement” that focuses on legislative diplomacy, structural foreign policy and empowering individual policy entrepreneurs should be considered.
Institutional factors beyond individual members’ ability to control are behind much of Congress’s declining foreign policy influence on headline issues: information disparities, polarization and the need for rapid response among them. To effectively reclaim its foreign policy powers, it is critical for Congress to work within rather than attempt to overcome these broader trends.
To set itself up for “empowered engagement,” Congress should bolster institutions of legislative diplomacy, focus on institutional reform in executive branch agencies and insert congressional voices into executive branch deliberations.
Press release: How Congress Can Address Empowered Engagement in Foreign Policy in 2021

Image credit: alexandersr

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