Which legislature has the most power in holding the executive to account, the UK or the US?

Essay by Jesus_Loves_You May 2004

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When considering the power held by the legislature in both the UK and the US, it is essential to acknowledge the constitutional powers allocated to it in order to hold the executive to account. In addition to this, the changing nature of both legislatures must be taken into consideration in order to examine the powers that each exercise today. However, from the evidence that is available, it is possible to infer that the US still maintains the most power in holding the executive to account, regardless of the change in role it has undergone.

With specific regard to the US legislature, its role has altered from the constitutional powers of law making, to the seemingly less powerful role of law scrutiniser. Although this may appear as if Congress has lost a significant amount of it's powers, this is not the case as Congress is still a very influential body with regard to legislation.

Evidence of this can be found in the number of bills that are passed in the US, as only approximately 5% of bills are passed which shows that a great deal of power in holding the executive to account is maintained with regard to legislation. The UK, on the other hand, is predominantly regarded as having its law making powers in the executive branch of the government. However this traditional view is beginning to change and it now appears that the House of Commons has a stronger hold on the executive with regard to legislation. The amount of legislation, however, that is passed the UK is in contrast to that of America as approximately 95% of bills are passed in Parliament. This suggests that the House of Commons does not have as strong a hold on the executive as Congress does in the US with regard...