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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Congress Has Been Losing Power for a Hundred Years

It’s time for the legislature to start acting like the coequal branch of government it is.

Executive orders won’t be his preference.

Executive orders won’t be his preference.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was a real lowlight for Congress. At least during the sacking of Washington in the war of 1812, the White House burned alongside the Capitol. But on January 6, 2021 the head of the executive branch urged his followers to interfere with the operation of the legislative branch. The entire sequence of events is a reminder that congressional power has been receding relative to the executive branch for almost a century.

Now is the time for Congress to stand up for its rights as a coequal branch of government. It’s not only that the January 6 attack has drawn public attention to the importance of the legislature. It’s that President Joe Biden is the first career legislator to occupy the White House in nearly 50 years.