In writing the Constitution, the founding fathers ensured competition between Congress and the executive branch. This competition for power and the ensuing tension over policy directions are at the heart of the checks and balances that were designed more to protect U.S. liberties than to ensure the efficient functioning of a pluralistic democracy. The division of power was understood to impose added burdens and to make governance more cumbersome. Indeed, at times the power to obstruct or to delay can be important for the effective working of either the legislative or executive branch in the broader national interest. Furthermore, there is nothing new about serious tensions between the legislative and executive branches, nor about complaints that the system of governance is not working effectively.