The question is not whether Congress or the president dominates decisionmaking; clearly, both branches of government play an integral role in trade policy formulation. The relevant question is how does Congress structure the delegation of authority to control policy without reverting to legislative [logrolling]?
-- Sharyn O'Halloran
In recent years . . . the most effective trade actions of our government have emanated from the Congress and been embraced only reluctantly--frequently at the last minute--by an administration desperate for ideas. What passes for administration trade policy is actually a patchwork of congressional trade initiatives.
-- Former SenatorLloyd Bentsen
The extensive and intensive role of the Congress in the making of U.S. international economic policy means that a full understanding of how this policy is formulated and administered is not possible if only intra-executive branch decision-making models are used. The occasionally decisive role of Congress and the unique sharing of power between the U.S. executive and legislative branches have bestowed critical importance on what I call the inter-branch model of decision-making. The model encompasses two main concepts. The first is the divergent attitudes and objectives between the two branches that jointly shape U.S. international economic policymaking. The second element consists of the control mechanisms used by Congress either to delegate measured amounts of authority to the executive branch to conduct these policies or to block the implementation of policies desired by the administration.