Special Report

Presidents With the Best and Worst Relationships With Congress

The longest shutdown in U.S. history will soon be over, at least for three weeks. President Donald Trump and Congress worked out a deal after 35 days to reopen closed government agencies and pay back federal employees who have been going to work without pay. The deal, however, does not include funding for a border wall.

Trump’s fractured relationship with Congress, which further deteriorated after Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, is not unique. Many presidents have faced opposition, sometimes even fierce, from elected congressmen and congresswomen for varying reasons, from party loyalty to personal differences.

When the executive and legislative branches of the government do not get along, stalemate is often the result. Bills are not be passed into laws, government agencies can run out of money, and important jobs can remain vacant.

As the government tries to resume normal operations, 24/7 Wall St. takes a look at the presidents with the best and worst relationships with Congress.

The following list is based on C-SPAN’s 2017 presidential historians survey. Presidents are ranked by historians and other professional observers of the presidency based on 10 qualities of leadership, with 100 being the best and 0 the worst. One of those qualities is relations with Congress. Survey rankings were arranged by averaging all responses in each of the 10 categories for each of the 43 presidents. (Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms; William Henry Harrison is not included because he was in office for just 32 days; and Trump is not included because at the time of the survey he was in office for just a few weeks.) Information about the presidents’ time in the White House was taken from government sources such as WhiteHouse.gov or history-based sites such as History.com.

Click here to see the presidents with the best and worst relationship with Congress. 

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