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Friday, December 23, 2005

2005 Retrospectives, Part 4: Checks and Balances Edition

VandeHei and Babington have a year-end analysis of the give and take between the executive and legislative branches, with the power flowing toward Capitol Hill in 2005:

This week's uprising against a four-year extension of the USA Patriot Act was the latest example of a new willingness by lawmakers in both parties to challenge Bush and his notions of expansive executive power.

Since this spring, Congress has forced Bush to scrap plans for a broad restructuring of Social Security, accept tighter restrictions on the treatment of detainees and rewrite his immigration plan. Lawmakers have rebuffed Bush's call to make permanent his first-term tax cuts and helped force the president to speak more candidly about setbacks in Iraq.

Their thesis statement: "Bush may have reached the outer limits of a long-term project to reshape the powers of the presidency." If only Congress had done its job these previous four years...

MORE: Dan Drezner adds, "The great thing about the American system of government is that whenever one branch exceeds its traditional scope of authority, that branch is eventually brought to heel by the other parts of government."