Friday, April 27, 2007
In early April of 2007 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went over to the Middle East to conduct foreign policy. The concern that myself as well as author Frank Salvato has is that the Constitution does not authorize the Speaker of the House to conduct foreign policy in the manner in which Pelosi did. That power is strictly delegated to the Executive Branch of government. As Salvato writes “this isn’t to say that Congress doesn’t have any authority over the formulation of US foreign policy, it certainly does.” Article 2, section 8 is the part of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, States, and Indian Tribes. However, Salvato notes that it is Article 3, Section 2 that authorizes the President to make treaties, appoint Ambassadors, Judges of the Supreme Court, etc. Congress has the power to regulate business in the US and foreign nations and the President has the ability to appoint individuals to represent the US in foreign affairs.
Knowing all of the information presented above leads me to ask why the Speaker of the House thought it was appropriate for her to go over to the Middle East. She took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. So why, then would she even take this step? Some have suggested that this is an attempt by Congress to undermine President Bush or for Congress to overpower the Executive Branch period. I guess that it doesn’t really matter why she chose to do it. The point is that the Constitution clearly leaves that area of foreign policy to the Executive Branch. It is the choice of the Secretary of the State to go to foreign countries for diplomatic reasons, not the choice of Nancy Pelosi. I agree with author Frank Salvato that this situation has created a constiutional crisis.