Examine member of the House of Commons (the legislative).

Examine the provision of checks and balances in the UK and US Constitutions (12)The UK and US Constitutions are similar in the sense that they both have checks and balances. This is mainly due to the fact they both have a form of separation of powers. In the US, the three branches of government are completely separate (the executive, legislative and the judiciary) and there is no crossover whatsoever. However in the UK, there is what is called a ‘fusion of powers’. This is where the judiciary is still separate but the executive and legislative branches are ‘fused together’. In the UK, the prime minister is the head of the executive and is also part of the legislative as all PMs and cabinet ministers have to also be a member of the House of Commons (the legislative). There are also committees in the UK which hold the government to account and checks its power.It could be said that the US President has more power than the British Prime Minister. This is because the President has the power to create executive orders which will become law. However, their supposed power is reduced because of the large amount of checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution. In the UK, however, although the Prime Minister does not have the power to create executive orders like in the US, they can easily pass legislation through the Commons with a simple majority which they usually tend to have. Theresa May for example does not have a majority in the Commons and so she had to rely on making a deal with the DUP to support the Conservatives on Brexit related issues.In the US, due to the separation of powers, all legislation is actually introduced by a member of Congress, not by the President like you would assume. In the UK however, almost all bills are introduced by the government, although some bills (Private Member’s Bills) are introduced by individual MPs to Parliament. Also, due to the UK not having a written constitution, there are not official ‘checks and balances’ like there are in the US, there are only statutes.Analyse the amendment processes in the UK and US Constitutions (12)The amendment processes in the UK and US Constitutions are completely different. In the UK laws can be amended via a simple majority vote in the House of Commons. A government with a majority in the Commons will find it very easy to amend laws because of this. In order to amend or propose a new law (or bill), there is an initial reading of the title of the bill. There is a vote at this stage so that it can be decided whether or not people agree with the basic principle of the bill. Then there is the second reading where MPs can debate and then vote on the details of the bill. Afterwards, the bill goes to the Committee stage where special committees known as Public Bill Committees scrutinise the details of the bill. Then there is the report stage, where the findings of the Public Bill Committee are fed back to the MPs and further amendments can be suggested. Finally, there is the third reading where the finished bill is voted on. If the bill started in the House of Commons and it succeeds at the third reading, it will then go to the House of Lords where the same process will happen there.However, in the US the amendment procedure is completely different. In Article V of the Constitution, two methods for amending the constitution are mentioned. The first method requires two-thirds of both houses of Congress to approve an amendment for it then to be sent to the state legislatures for ratification. Then three-quarters of the state legislatures need to approve the amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. The second method requires two-thirds of the state legislatures to call a ‘constitutional convention’ to propose a new amendment.In the US’ history, only the first method has ever been used. The second method still remains unused. The structural differences between the US and UK Constitutions amendment processes is that the US’ was enshrined in the Constitution by the Founding Fathers. This is because of the cultural differences at the time as the US were wary of a tyrannical government being able to take complete control over the country by simply amending the Constitution easily. That is why the amendment process in the US was made so hard and is the reason why there have only been 27 amendments since its creation. Evaluate the extent of federalism in the US today (30)It can be said that the US is no longer a federal system. This is because, although it is stated in the Constitution, the states do not have all the necessary powers that they should have. An example of this is that currently income tax is collected by both the states and the central government. I believe that this is not how it should be and that the states should collect all income tax and then a proportion should then be given given to the central government based of the amount they have received. It can also be said the federalism in the US has declined over the years due to the central government taking more and more powers away from the states.However, it can also be said than the US is still a federal system. This is because the Constitution clearly defines which powers are to be given to the states and which powers are going to be given to the central government. An example of this is that the Constitution states that the states have the power to equal representation in the Senate (each state has 2 senators regardless of population) whilst the central government has the power to raise taxes and pay debts. These powers are enshrined in the Constitution and are incredibly entrenched due the complex amendment method required to change these powers. Also, the tenth amendment of the constitution states that any power not stated outright in the constitution will be given to the states. This was so that the Founding Fathers did not have to list every possible power in the Constitution but instead they could simply state the key ones to be given to the central government and give the rest of them to the states.Also, another reason why the US is definitely still a federal system is that the states have so much power in terms of making amendments. Because the amendment process states that three-quarters of the state legislatures need to approve an amendment after it has been approved by two-thirds of Congress, they have a large part in the amendment of legislation. Congress, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, is purely run by the states. This is because each state has two senators in the Senate and at least one representatives in the House of Representatives and often more depending on the population of the state. This is another reason why the states have a large role in making and amending legislation.Of course, the extent of federalism can only go so far as there are a few powers which make sense to only be given to the central government as the US wouldn’t work if they were given to the states. An example of this are the powers to declare war and make treaties. This wouldn’t work as individual states shouldn’t be able to declare separate wars or make separate treaties with other countries. These kind of powers should be reserved only for the central government.In conclusion, I believe that although it can be argued that federalism in the US has declined over the years, the states still have so many powers given to them by the Constitution. This means that they still have a lot of say in how the US is governed and because three-quarters of state legislatures need to approve amendments to the Constitution, they have a lot of power in the amendment process too. So that is why I think that the US is still a largely federal system today.