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Essay: Why is there a push for Federalism in the Phillipines?

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THE PROBLEM AND REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

In the Philippines, its present form of government, which is unitary, has been much influenced by the successive events of the Spaniards colonization and the American occupation in the country. Tracing back the historical formation of the Philippine political system is significant in understanding its present form of government.

When the Spaniards colonized the Philippine archipelago from 1521 to 1898, they established a centralized form of government wherein the power concentrated on the governor-general as the representative of the Spanish government in the country. The Spaniards established a unitary government because with this system, they can manage smoothly the Philippine archipelago. For this reason, they ensured the consolidation of powers to the few Spanish officials in the country, necessary to efficiently exploit the resources of the country. That is to say, the Spaniards had no intention of improving the state of condition of the Filipinos or the country as a whole by their colonization. Its main objective was to exploit the resources of the country and force the Filipinos to labor for their own interest through fearing them with their concept of heaven and hell.

In addition, a centralized government in the Philippine archipelago benefited the Spaniards in such sense this form of government allowed the Spaniards to assume power and superiority over the entire country even some islands were not conquered such as the Southern Mindanao. Therefore, the Spaniard used and established a unitary government as it was the most convenient to suppress the rights of the Filipinos.

After the Spaniards ceded the Philippine archipelago to the Americans for 20 million dollars by the treaty of Paris in 1898, the Americans took over the country. Accordingly, US had established three kinds of government during their occupation in the country. The Americans first established a military government due to the existence of war between their forces and the Filipino nationalists led by Emilio Aguinaldo. The war broke out primarily because the Filipino nationalists sought independence rather than a change in colonial rulers. Secondly, the Americans established a civil government for a purpose of legislating laws for the country. Lastly, the commonwealth government was established, which served as a transition government in preparation for the Philippine independence.

As the Philippines gained full independence in 1946, the Filipinos were still reconstructing themselves from their experiences with the Spaniards, Americans and Japanese. Even if the Philippines was already autonomous and sovereign, the country still needed guidance particularly in shaping its own form of government. Since it was the Americans, the recent occupiers in the country, the form of government that the Americans had established during their occupation was still fresh to the Filipinos. Hence, the practical and convenient decision for the Filipinos to do in terms of choosing its form of government was to base it on the model being proposed by the Americans, a democratic republic with a presidential form of government. At the present, this is the type of government, which still exists in the Philippines.

Indeed, these two successive events of the Spanish colonization and the American occupation had influenced the present form of government in the Philippines, which is unitary. This form of government has run and worked the country for almost four centuries. Yet, why is there a push for Federalism by President Rodrigo Duterte? It is for this question that this study will be pursued.
Adapting a system of government that is appropriate to the country is a crucial decision since it will direct and shape the collective activities of the people. In addition, it will determine how nation will move forward as one compact body. In this paper, the researchers believe that through contrasting and comparing the unitary and federal forms of government, it will widen our understanding in which form of government is appropriate to the country.

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

This part presents the different literature that can support the thesis of this study. Studies on the unitary and federal forms of government in terms of political participation, budget-allocation and allocation of powers are the perceived relevant literature.

A.Unitary Government

There are 123 democratic countries in the world today. (Ziomek, 2013). In those countries, some constitutions place almost all political power in the central government, with little independent decision-making left to localities or regions. Others create a relatively weak central government, with many political decisions being made at lower levels. The former refers to a unitary government. According to Dickovick (2003), there are more than 150 countries practice the unitary system of government as it is the most used system in the presidential and parliamentary countries today.

A unitary state is one in which no other governmental body but the central government has any areas of policy that are exclusively under its control. A local government still exists yet its power is delegated by the central government, not determine by the constitution. (Riker, 1964). The unitary government, which power revolves around the central authority, Tumangday (2013) refers it as a top-to-bottom government since the power comes from the top (central government) and trickles down to the bottom (local government). The central government is in charge of policy-making and is the ultimate law making body in the land.
In a democratic unitary system, the central government has complete autonomy over all levels of government, and no powers are resolved for those levels. (Barrington, 2013)

Gaille (2018) enumerates the advantages and disadvantages of a unitary government. For its advantageous features, a unitary government creates societal unity since it promotes a uniformed nation. It encourages the government to be smaller instead of larger, which makes the process of governing the common people as simple and less complex. The regulations and laws are standardized in such sense that the central government, as the ultimate law-making body, makes laws and policies to address the demands and needs of the people. On the contrary, a unitary government has also its disadvantages. The national government may not be able to deal with the local concerns or problems; unitary governments may ignore local cultural differences; and it can place an emphasis on foreign issues over domestic issues.

A.Political Participation

Active citizen participation is the underpinning of any democracy. Democracies generally rely on the degree and level of citizen participation, both directly and indirectly. (Vinod & Despanded, 2013). Verba and Nie (1972) defines political participation as refers to citizen actions aimed at influencing the election of government personnel and\or the actions they take.

Political participation can be viewed as instrumental phenomenon and\or as a developmental process. Accordingly, many writers perceive political participation as an instrument for achieving policy ends. (Vinod and Deshpanded, 2013). In other words, it is the means of voicing out the demands and needs of the people through public policies. Furthermore, the primary purpose of engaging to political participation is to understand ways people take part to political life, motivations for becoming involved, and to find ways for increasing the quality and quantity of political engagement.

In addition, Vinod and Deshpanded (2013) clearly state that forms of political participation vary from one political system to another. Voting in elections, supporting political parties through financial contributions, helping out in the political campaign, interacting with the elected officials to express an opinion or to voice out a grievance, and taking part in the activities of nonpartisan organizations directed towards some public cause are the manifestations of peoples’ behavior in the political sphere, which he considered as political participation.

To reduce the vagueness of the term “political participation, Gunter (1991) classifies it into two major types: the popular\conventional and unconventional forms of political participation. The popular types of political participation presupposes small personal involvement. The examples include voting and dissemination of political information. On the other hand, unconventional forms of political participation presupposes personal involvement and engagement, like actively engaged for a political party or movement, running for political office, or political protest activities. Clearly, he distinguishes the two major types of political participation primarily based on the degree of engagement and\or involvement of the citizens in the political sphere.
Moreover, Vinod and Deshpanded (2013) emphasize that political representation and participation enhance legitimacy by providing citizens with a sense of individual worth and a reassurance that their voice is valued. Though increased participation may not necessarily lead to more desirable political outcomes, yet inadequate citizen involvement and participation can and does affect the credibility and legitimacy of the political system.

The Philippines as unitary in its form of government, the Filipinos participate by various ways in the political sphere. Accordingly, studies in political participation have predominantly focused on the experience of political involvement through organized groups, electoral behavior including voting, and women’s political participation specifically their attempts to organize as a political force at the local level and to run for public office. (Montiel & Macapagal, 2000)

According to the study Francisco on Women’s Participation and Advocacy in the Party-list election in 1998, the findings of his study show a significant portion of its citizenry does not engage politically through such avenues and that almost everyone will, at one point or another, still participate politically as an individual. The underlying reasons for this is that some people do not participate even in elections primarily because they do not have the trust to the running candidates or to the government itself. For the Philippines, emerging from a history of dictatorship, people power revolutions, and grappling it way to an established and flourishing democracy, many incidents had already happened that weakened the political legitimacy and political participation of some Filipinos.

A.1. Election Process

Elections were invented in order to make democracy possible. In many countries, elections meant to do more than boosting support for the regime, it may also be the means by which leaders and sometimes actual policies choose by the people. For this to be case, an election must involve a choice between candidates or a choice whether or not a particular policy to be followed. (Shively, 1997).
One way Filipinos participate politically is through voting. It is one of the rights of the Filipinos as indicated in the Philippine Constitution. If choosing political leaders utilizes elections, there must be some rules for translating peoples’ votes into a particular selection of leaders.

Accordingly, the Philippines has employed the “first past the post system”, which is also known as the “winner takes all system”. (Neuman, 2005). It is a type of electoral system under the plurality\majority systems wherein whoever won the most number of votes, wins. This electoral system is applied through all type of elections for the Philippine’s government officials from the Presidential election down to SK Chairperson elections. The president and vice president elected nationally for six-year term with no reelection. The national legislature is bicameral, with a lower house of 200 representatives elected in single member district constituencies for three year terms, plus sectorial representatives appointed by the President. The Senate has 24 senator members elected for six-year terms nationally, half elected every three years. Representatives are limited to three terms, senators to two. Local government officials (governors, provincial councils, municipal and city mayors and councils) elected to three-year term, with a three term limit.

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), a constitutionally mandated, independent body that supervises elections in the Philippines. The COMELEC requires the parties to register with a verified petition and attachments including platforms and such other information required by the COMELEC. (Rokomora, 1998)

In terms of political party system, the Philippines employs an open party system or also known as multiparty system. It is a type of party system wherein there exist two or more political parties in one country.

Budget-allocation

Budgetary allocations are integral components to an annual financial plan, or budget of all organizations. It indicates the level of resources an organization is committing to a department or program. Without proper allocation, expenditures can exceed revenues and result in financial shortfalls. (Ryckman, 2018)

It imperative to understand how the budget process works to determine the budget-allocation of one country. According to Blondal (2010), the Philippine National Budget process undertakes certain steps as follow: budget preparation, budget legislation, budget execution and budget accountability. The process starts with the budget call, which sets the parameters and procedures to guide agencies in preparing their respective proposed projects. To assure that the proposed projects of the government agencies represent the demands and needs of the people, the agencies engage citizens as they prepare their project. This participatory budgeting mechanism called as “bottom-up budgeting”. After finalizing the proposed project, the Department of Budget and Management will review the proposed project of the agencies. After the DBM’s review, they will present it to the President and the Cabinet for discussion and approval. Then the DBM validates the approved budgets and consolidates these into the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) and other budget documents. The President’s Budget will submit it to the legislation for the House of the representatives and the Senate to deliberate it. In the House Deliberations, the Committee sponsors the recommended General Appropriations Bill before the House in plenary. Once approved, the House transmits the GAB to the senate. Similarly, the Senate Committee on Finance usually starts hearings on the President’s Budget well before the House formally transmits the GAB. Like in the House, the Committee on finance sponsors the GAB in plenary, which then approves the Senate version of the GAB. The Budget legislation ends when the President signs the GAA into law.

The budget execution involves the process of early procurement activities, Budget program, allotment release, obligation, cash allocations, disbursement and performance review to execute the programs and projects of the agencies effectively and efficiently.
In budget accountability, it involves agencies setting up of monitoring and evaluation mechanism and agencies’ submission of financial accountability reports as required by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Commission on Audit subject for review to ascertain if agencies used the public funds properly according to the law.

According to the Department of Budget and Management, the Philippine National Budget for 2019 prioritizes public infrastructure and human capital development. Higher investments on infrastructure will support economic growth, targeted to reach 7% to 8% in 2019, create jobs, and spur opportunities in the countryside. Spending for human capital, such as education, healthcare, and social protection, will mold the country’s young population into an excellent and competent workforce capable of sustaining the Philippine’s growth momentum.

The sector with the highest allocation is education, comprised of the budgets of the Department of Education (DepEd), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Its cash-appropriations in the proposed 2019 budget amounts to P659.3 billion, increased by P72.2 billion or 12.3% than its cash-based equivalent in the 2018 budget. Moreover, other agencies such as DPWH, DILG, DND, DSWD and DOH have shown notable increased to their budgets higher than last year.

Allocation of Powers

Democracy is a claim about who should have a say in ruling and a share in government power. (Neuman, 2005). Every state – in fact, every political organizations, club, or other group- has a constitution, or set of rules by which power is distributed among the members. (Shively, 2005)

According to Jackson and Jackson (2000), political powers may be arranged in such a way as to provide one strong, central state with insignificant local authorities or the center may be weakened by dividing authority into the hands of city or regional governments. Among the many institutional arrangements to accomplish this task, two stand out as most prevalent in the modern world. The first of these constitutional arrangement is called unitary government. In such system, the constitution provides for one level of government to be in control of all policy fields over the whole country. It is the only sovereign power in the country. If other levels of government exist- such as cities and regions – they are under the constitutional jurisdiction of the unitary government. The central government may delegate its powers to regional or local administrative units, but it also remains, in constitutional terms, the supreme law-making constitution. Examples of unitary governments are France, Japan and Philippines.

Allocation of powers in the Philippines as a unitary government has been determined by its Constitution. Accordingly, the Philippine government is divided into three branches: legislative, executive and judiciary branches. The Philippine legislature is bicameral, which means it composes of two Houses: the Lower House and the Upper House as the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively. The main function of the legislative branch is to make laws. The executive branch is primarily composed of the President along with his\her cabinet members to be appointed by the President. The President is the Head of the State, at the same time the Head of the government. The main function of the President is to execute laws which are passed by the Congress. And the judiciary branch is composed of one Supreme Court and other types of courts. The main function of the judiciary is to adjudicate disputes between citizens.

Federal Government

Federalism refers to the advocacy of multi-tiered government combining elements of shared-rule and regional self-rule. Within the genus of federal political systems, federations represent a particular species in which neither the federal nor the constituent units of government are constitutionally subordinate to the other, i.e. each has sovereign powers derived from the constitution rather than another level government, each is empowered to deal directly with its citizens in the exercise of its legislative, executive and taxing powers and each is directly elected by its citizens. (Watts, 1996). As of 2003, a total of 21 states were federal systems while 172 were unitary. (Shively, 2005)

In a federal system, separate governmental units coexist on the same territory, each with its own constitutionally set areas of policy. (Shively, 2005). Furthermore, Hueglin and Fenna (2006) states that in a federal system of government, sovereignty is shared and powers are divided between two or more levels of government, each of which enjoys a direct relationship with the people. On the other hand, Riker (1964) defines a federal state wherein local governmental authorities of some sort are set up by the constitution and these authorities are given certain political decisions over which they have a legal monopoly of control. Barrington (2013) agrees with Riker’s definition by stating that in a federal democratic state, lower levels of government retain designated powers that the central government cannot take away.

According to Burgess (2006), the first aspect that will set a federal state apart from a unitary state is division of powers, where you have a vertical division of powers in addition to at least two levels of horizontal separation of powers. This aspect is best illustrated by a nation that has a central federal executive, legislative and judicial branch and at the same time has an executive, legislative and judicial branch in each member state with partial autonomy from the federal state.

As such, it is possible for a state level legislative branch to create laws independently of the federal state, which is then valid only in that particular state. This also means that even if the law or system breaks down, fully or partially in one state, it is not guaranteed that the law will break down in the other states. (Bednar, 2009)

An additional aspect that also touches on how a federation is organized, are the three branches of government first envisioned by prominent philosophers such as Montesquieu and put to use by the founding fathers of the United States of America. These three are commonly known as the legislative, executive and judicial branches. (Almond, Strøm and Dalton, 2004). This aspect does not alone identify a federation, as it is usually present in one form or another in most democracies. The reason for the importance of this aspect is that federations often need to be of a democratic of nature and thus it is an important identifier for a democracy, though it is theoretically possible to have a quasi or non-democratic federal state. (Almond et. al., 2004). Moreover, Bednar (2009) emphasizes the importance of the separation of powers in any democratic countries in such sense that it provides a system of checks and balances that prevent the other branch of the government from gaining too much control.

Bednar (2009) states that secured division of powers may calm worries in a member state concerning on the preservation of their own uniqueness and values. As such, they may possibly create a buffer that decreases the chance of religious or cultural conflicts.
According to Jakobsen (2010) one of the advantages of a federation is that the various member states can operate both together (thru the federal level) and independent of each other (state level). It is easier for a member state to maintain their individual identity through partial autonomy in a way that states can control key institutions such as education and can enact laws and policies that considers the cultural differences of the state.

Furthermore, Burgess (2006) states another advantage that federations can make it simpler to negotiate trade deals with other nations, as the federation or confederation represents the entire bulk of member states. A federal or confederal state will also make trade within its territories easier such as the internal market of the European Union and the United States of America. For Dunne (2001) this may in turn create interdependence among the member states, which strengthens the ties between the member states.
However, a federation is not without its blemishes, as there exist its disadvantageous features. (Wiseman, 2018). First, each state government has its own style of governance; citizens all over the federation will be experiencing different levels of welfare. Secondly, the competencies and efficiency of each state government will also not be the same, potentially creating further disunity. (Wiseman, 2018). This is a disadvantage especially to those states with minimal resources and less developed infrastructures compared to other states. Thirdly, a policy exercised across different states may differ in magnitude, like penalties for criminal offenses. Finally, there is always the possibility of disagreement and conflict between state and central government over authority and power, which is possible to make one country more disunited. (Tumangway & Loyola 2013). Barrington (2013) identified another advantages and disadvantages of federation aside from the aforementioned above. As advantages, giving powers to lower levels of government makes it easier to govern a very large country. Federal systems are usually required when there are major divisions along ethnic, tribal, linguistic or other such lines. Differences based on economic, geographical, historical and religious cleavages may also play a part. (Jackson & Jackson, 2000). In addition, a federal system better accommodates regional differences in policy preferences and can help guard against the concentration of political power. On the other hand, its disadvantages include a lack of uniformity in policy across the country. This can be a problem for citizens who travel from one part of the country to another. In the United States, state governments control the creation of most electoral rules, even for federal elections. How one registers to vote in Wisconsin, for example, may be different from how one registers in Texas. Finally, if territorial lines within the country correspond to deep social divisions, which is more likely to result into violent conflict and attempts of the regions to break apart from the state.

Political Participation

Democracy involves the voluntary participation by most citizens who make informed, rational choices among clear political alternatives which influence public policy. (Neuman, 2005). Dahl (1998) said that before a policy is developed, all member must have equal and effective opportunities for making their views known, every member must have an equal and effective opportunity to vote, and all votes must be counted equal.

Participation varies by level of involvement, intensity of commitment, and amount of energy or resources expended. Low-intensity participation might include voting, signing a petition, flying a flag, or attaching a bumper sticker to your car, while intense participation would be running as a candidate for a public office, forming a new political party, or organizing a patriotic rally. (Shively, 1997)

According to Neuman (2005), there are five overlapping explanations of political participation. Based on the civic virtue thesis, people participate because they are socialized to the values of good citizenship. People who are most socially integrated (e.g., married; have regular jobs; churches) are socialized to democratic norms that include being politically active. The individual resource arguments says participation varies along a continuum. The amount of resources, such as money, time, and information, organizational skills determine how likely a person is to participate. Individuals rationally decide to participate when it is easier (e.g., they have the time, money and skills), and when they expect benefits from participating. People with few resources, who face difficulties (e.g., low education, no money, cannot register to vote), or who expect few benefits, decide not to participate and withdraw due to rational ignorance. Rational ignorance says people rationally decide not to invest time and effort into following and participating in politics if they expect it to have a little impact. In the mobilization proposition, people participate when an organization (e.g., political party, interest groups, and advocacy organizations) offers them a cause or ideological reason to participate. The group solidarity hypothesis states that people who feel a strong sense of group membership – in a racial or ethnic group, a religious community, or labor union will participate to defend or advance group interests. A social network explanation is that people with whom one has regular contact in a social network provide information, assistance, and social-emotional support to promote participation. The network is a web of social relations with whom one can discuss politics.

In U.S, Americans citizens participate in many ways in the political sphere. First, they vote. Voting for officials both in the nominating and the electoral processes and on ballot issues is the fundamental form of citizen participation upon which representative democracy rests. Secondly, the common people are involved in making key decisions to an institution such as education and the process of improving its infrastructures. Thirdly, the people help to develop budgets and regulations as states are required local budget hearings or publication of notices about the proposed budgets to increase transparency. Lastly, they volunteer their services to government and receive governmental services. Citizen participation is formal and informal. As such, it appears at all governmental levels but mostly at the local. (Beame & Anderson 1979)

Moreover, Shively (1997) emphasizes the importance of political participation among American citizens in such sense that it is one way of knowing what the officials do so that they can hold them responsible. The public also must know the reasons for governmental decisions if it is to retain confidence in the soundness and equity of those decisions.

The political participation of the American people in government is most direct and most frequent at the local level. (Beame & Anderson, 1979). Enforcing political participation among citizens through localizing and contextualizing important governmental processes and policies can result into making the citizens participate to the deliberation in voicing out their demands and needs.
Elections help the rulers adjust and smooth over popular concerns as they help keep rulers in charge. (Neuman, 2005). Young children learn about democracy when they participate in decision-making by voting, often by raising their hands, and they learn that the majority’s choice wins.

In terms of election process, U.S. utilizes the Electoral College system. According to Bromwich (2016), the Electoral College is a group of people that elects the president and the vice president of the United States. This group of people called as “Electors” or “Electorates”. Moreover, Vincent (2016) made clear that it is not a building or institution, rather the “College” is just a way to name a group of 538 people who are the formal electors who cast an electoral vote.

According to the website of the Electoral College, Electoral votes are allocated among the states based on the Census. Every state has a number of votes equal to the number of senators and representatives in its U.S. Congressional delegation—two votes for its senators in the U.S. Senate plus a number of votes equal to the number of its members in the U. S. House of Representatives.
Moreover, the Electoral College system is unique in such sense that peoples’ vote for their prospect candidates indirectly influence the final result of the election as it is the task of the electors to cast votes directly for the candidates only if one has won the popular vote in a state. (Bromwich, 2016). In addition to that, the American Constitution does not state specifically for the electors to cast their votes to the candidate who won the popular vote. In that case, winning the popular vote yet losing the election for not getting the highest number of votes from the electors is still possible.

In terms of its political party system, the country utilizes a two-party system. A two-party system is typified by the fact that no one party can count on always holding power but only two parties can normally expect to have a chance of doing so. In US, only the Republican and Democratic parties are normally serious contenders of powers. A two-party system does not necessarily have only two parties; a dozen or so parties run regularly in a U.S. presidential election, including the Vegetarians, Prohibitionists, the Libertarians, and the Socialist Workers’ party. But only the two major parties usually have any expectation of winning.

The main advantage of two-party political system is that it offers the electorate a choice of policies and leaders and at the same time promotes governmental stability by making it possible for one party to win a majority or near-majority in the legislature. (Jackson and Jackson, 2000)

Budget-allocation

Governments play a role not only in the overall economic activity but also in the distribution within the economy. (Shively, 2005). State governments in the United States vary widely in government size, state budgets, and taxing plans. (Neuman, 2005). As States have their reserved powers determine by the American Constitution, States can implement their own fiscal policies as to how they will manage their resources\budget efficiently and optimally. Accordingly, the state relies on private businesses for tax revenue, employment, and social stability. Beyond taxes, the state has few alternatives sources of revenue, so it encourages business activity indirectly by schooling that provides a well-trained labor force; transportation infrastructure, such as airports or roads, to move goods and people. And directly by entrepreneurial development programs, grants or low-interest loans to business to increase revenue. (Neuman, 2005)

Moreover, States have their own budget, way of generating revenues from various sources such as taxes and approving expenditures. If revenues do not keep pace with expenditures, states generally have to raise taxes, cut services, and borrow money, or a combination of the three. However, some states rely most on the federal funding on the forms of grants. (Maciag, 2017)
Accordingly, there are different types of financial arrangements link Washington with the state capitals. Some type of grants make the system more centralized and others more decentralized. Categorical grants which provide funds to State and local governments for specific programs are the most common federal grant. They come into two basic forms, but both are highly centralizing devices. Formula grants are allocated to states and local governments according to specified criteria such as the percentages of poor and unemployed people. Project grants allow states to apply for funding following the federal rules about guidelines and objectives. On the other hand, more decentralization is provided by block grants that allow States and local authorities much more discretion about how they will respond to the federal money aimed at broad program areas. (Jackson and Jackson, 2000)

If States have their own way of allocating and regenerating budget\funds, the Federal government also has its own budget process. According to the National Priorities Project, there are five steps, which summarizes the U.S. Federal Budget process. The first step is the President’s submission of a budget request. The president’s budget reflects input from all federal agencies about which programs are important and deserve sustained or expanded funding as well as those programs that can be trimmed or eliminated. The budget also reflects the president’s priorities for the coming year and beyond. The second step is the passing of budget resolutions by the House and the Senate. A budget resolution sets overall annual spending limits for federal agencies. After both the House and Senate pass their resolutions, they iron out differences between the two versions that will guide the rest of the process. The third step is for House and Senate subcommittees to markup Appropriations bills. An appropriation bill, also known as supply bill or spending bill, is a proposed law that authorizes the expenditure of government funds. It is a bill that sets money aside for specific spending. The fourth step is that The House and Senate vote on Appropriations bills and reconcile differences. The last step is the signing of each Appropriations bill by the President for the budget to become Law.

Allocation of Powers

In a federal system, the legal powers are divided between a central government and regional governments. There is more than one level of government over the same geographical territory. In the standard design, the constitution specifically divides jurisdictional powers between a central government and regional governments, neither of which owes its authority to the other level of government. (Shively, 2005). In this sense, federalism has been defined as a political organization in which the activities of government are divided between regional governments and a central government in such a way that each kind of government has some kind of activities on which it makes final decisions. Like in the Unites States, both the federal government and the state governments have their own reserved powers by which these enables them to have a specific jurisdiction of functions. The concurrent powers are powers which exercised both by the Federal and States governments. And the residual powers are powers which are not determined and identified by the Constitution belong to the States.

According to the US Constitution, the division of powers are applied by dividing the government into three branches: legislative, executive and judiciary. In general, the role of the executive is to steer the country and to apply the rules made by the legislative body. The role of the legislature is to make laws for the country, while the courts are to adjudicate the laws by resolving disputes between citizens, and between citizens and the state. In the United States, two senators are elected per state regardless of its size. Representation in the Lower House, the House of the Representatives, is determined by the principle of representation by population. Hence, the greater the population of the state, the greater will be the number of its representatives. (Jackson and Jackson, 2000)

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