You’ve probably heard of the “Iron Triangle,” but what is it and how does it work? The executive branch, headed by the president, is responsible for carrying out the laws passed by Congress. The bureaucracy, or federal agencies, consists of members of Congress, interest groups, and consumer-facing organizations. While the government may seem like one big organization, it actually comprises several smaller groups that each have a vested interest in shaping policy.
The term “Iron Triangle” refers to the relationship between policy-making committees, bureaucracy, and interest groups. The members of the triangle all benefit from the other’s influence and can resist changes in party control. However, the iron triangle isn’t without its critics: it has been accused of distorting the policymaking process, but the fact remains that the members of the triangle enjoy considerable influence in their respective areas of policymaking.