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Should there be limits on the power of Executive Department Heads and their agencies?

Updated on September 25, 2014


Executive department heads should have limits on the power and authority they can exercise without concurrence of Congress. Decisions made by these individuals can and do have drastic impacts on various segments of society. In one recent news event it indicated a board was to be established to make certain decisions but until the board is confirmed and operational the Department Head makes the decisions. While a board may be established to make decisions in this case regarding healthcare the question to be asked is whether this board has the legal authority under the law to impact health decisions of individuals. Health decisions should be between a doctor and his patients not a government board.

No one individual should have this kind of power by themselves especially Executive Department Heads. The opinion of one individual may not be the right decision for our society and individuals in the above case and their decision should not be the final one. Granted department heads are ultimately responsible for the actions and decisions of their departments and agencies but this kind of authority without some agreement with Congress in critical decisions is wrong.

The example above is only touching the surface as there may be other boards or authority within other Executive Departments and agencies which can have the same kind of impact. Decisions by other agencies and departments can and do impact the capability of businesses to exist which is the result of policy decisions through regulations and sometimes laws. There are so many government entities in the Executive Department that understanding their purpose and authority is a daunting task. At last count there are over 500 departments and agencies many of which we as individuals may not even know they exist. If they impact our lives with their decisions we then become aware of their existence.

Government entities are a necessary structure but the way they operate and make decisions should be reviewed to limit their capabilities to make certain decisions without going through Congress. This is not meant to be a condemnation of all departments and agencies as many do a great job in serving our needs but others are making decisions which make it harder for businesses to fully function and make a profit. Some decisions being made are even targeting specific industries which can be an act of discrimination. Congress needs to review the structure and authority it grants to government entities in the Executive Department without going through Congress. This may be difficult at this time but laws that are generated give certain legal authority and power to make decisions. Congress needs to be more involved. Involvement should not be to the extent that it hampers a department or agency from accomplishing its responsibilities.

The current economic environment we are in is hampered by decisions made by departments and agencies and sometimes through laws. There are examples where economies in several states are thriving and their unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country. This kind of activity should be encouraged and restrictions removed. Several states have a limited government philosophy and these economies are thriving. Our federal government needs to look at what these states are doing and evaluate how they can create the same environment. Government needs to be a support function not a dictating function. This especially includes Executive Departments and agencies.



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