Monthly Archives: January 2018

Will the GOP and Democrats be able to avoid a Federal Shutdown?

A sign on the National Mall tells visitors of the closures do to the federal government shutdown in Washington

If the US Congress fails to pass a bill which funds the Federal Government, it results in a Federal Shutdown. During a shutdown all government services that are not deemed to be essential are closed. This can mean that hundreds of thousands of Federal bureaucrats are sent home, without pay. They will not be allowed to work until a new funding agreement has been reached.

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What was Clause IV and what did New Labour do to it?

In May 1994 the leader of the Labour Party, John Smith, died suddenly. He had only been Party Leader since July 1992 and his death came as a major shock to the whole nation.

Smith

Labour Leader Jim Smith died in May 1994.

In the Leadership Election that followed, Tony Blair became Party Leader, with 57% of the overall vote. This was a defining moment in the history of the Labour Party. Alongside Gordon Brown (later Chancellor of the Exchequer), Peter Mandelson (later a Cabinet Member) and Alistair Campbell (later Communications Director) the ‘New Labour’ movement began to take shape.

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What did Alexander Hamilton call the ‘Benign Prerogative’?

The first Secretary of the Treasury, and Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton famously called Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution the ‘benign prerogative’. This is what the article says:

“he [the President] shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment”.

Yet there have been times in US History where the prerogative has been anything but benign. The number of pardons issued by different Presidents varies greatly. The highest number was issued by Franklin D. Roosevelt who pardoned 3,687 individuals, many of whom had fought in the Second World War. Contrarily, Presidents William Harrison and James Garfield both issued a grand total of zero pardons.

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