The Recommendations Clause and the President’s Role in Legislation

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Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution is the source of the President’s recommending function, stating that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient . . . .” Presidents dating back to George Washington have relied on the Recommendations Clause as a positive source of authority to make legislative recommendations to Congress. In an interesting twist, however, recent administrations have also frequently wielded it as a source of negative power to escape statutory requirements to provide information to Congress.

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