THE MIRROR CALLED CONGRESS
By Cabell Phillips
THE CONGRESS of the United States speaks with many tongues, not always intelligibly and often confusedly. But its collective voice thunders into every cranny of our national existence, stirring thought, evoking controversy, shaping the attitudes and convictions of 148 million people.
As the legislative branch of the government, the Congress exerts tremendous influence on our foreign policy. It exerts this influence in three ways:
First, through its debates, Congress plays an outstanding role in influencing the decision on any big issue before the country.
Second, through the close contacts between members of Congress and their constituents, Congress mirrors the public opinion that it has helped to form. Congress is reluctant to pass any bill unless its members are certain it has solid, grass-roots support.
Third, through control of the purse strings and through its general authority, and the practices of the legislative process, Congress wields direct influence over the executive branch of the government.
All these factors tend to make the power of the Congress approximately co-equal with that of the Executive in the field of foreign affairs. The division of authority can be stated in this way:
The formulation of foreign policy is the function of the executive branch of the government. It is the job of the