As I understand it scholars generally agree that the modern president is far more powerful then originally intended by the founders of the constitution.

Over the generations presidents have been slowly been claiming more and more power mostly by slowly usurping more of the power from the congress. For example only Congress can declare war, but that doesn't matter much any more when the president's have taken to simply sending troops into combat situations without an official declaration of war. Only Congress can pass laws, but the president can not only veto a law as passed by retroactively veto any existing law by offering a blanket pardon to it and/or refuse to prosecute it (as is done with federal marijuana laws). Similarly a president can write decrees on how laws should be interpreted and past president's have practically written new laws and policy via presidential decree significantly changing how existing law should be interpreted etc.

Trump has added to this by getting around congress refusal to fund a wall by reallocating military funds congress had intended for other uses. And recently the white house has implied it would refuse to cooperate with congressional panel for impeachment. However, this question is not about Trump specifically, but the role of US president in general, my point is that this trend is not just a historical trend, but one that continues up to the modern day.

In every case the slow usurpation of power follows the same pattern. A president does something to get around the limitation as president that is somewhat controversial and/or is a legal gray area. Whatever political party he is not part of complains and hems and halls, but whatever was done is never enough to impeach, and short of impeachment (or the supreme court ruling an action unconstitutional, which ironically is only a power the supreme court has due to a president threat to undermine the supreme court early on..) there is little that can be done. Thus a precedent is set, and future presidents do the same thing until this new behavior becomes common place and just considered a part of the presidential powers; then a new president takes another tiny step towards claiming power by taking another semi-controversial step. rinse and repeat.

Over time the net result is that power is slowly, but constantly, slipping towards to president. It's a very slow process, but at the same time it's a process that been happening for as long as the US has existed and hasn't stopped yet, which implies power will continue to seep to the president over time in the future.

Lets say that either congress specifically, or the american people in general, start to get worried about how much power the president has claimed? What could realistically be done to curtail the presidential power, or at least pevent it from continuing to grow, to keep the president closer to the power originally intended by the founders of the constitution?

Short of revolt the only option I can think of is an amendment written in such a way as to reign in the presidential power. However, given how hard it has been historically to get amendments passed, and the fact that a president is going to belong to a political party that is likely going to want to protect their president's power, and also will likely represent almost half of any congress, it seems rather difficult to imagine any congress managing to pass an amendment designed to limit the growth of presidential power.

Is there any other realistic situation in which the continue seeping of power to the president may be halted or reverted, assuming this was something desired by the American people?

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    While I form a complete `answer to your question, reevaluate your premise. Has the Executive Branch usurped power from the Legislature, or has the Legislature abdicated power to the executive? Congress passed The National Emergency Act and Stafford Act, granting the Executive the net power to reallocate appropriated but unallocated funding. Similarly, Congress has surrendered much of it's Legislative power to unelected Executive bureaucratic regulatory agencies. Oct 10 '19 at 22:23
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    Frankly a better question would be: is Congress almost completely irrelevant nowadays, except for (1) Supreme Court confirmations and (2) the budget. That's probably the only time Trump paid any attention to them. He was able to implement almost all of his main electoral agenda (immigration incl. border wall, trade wars) with the occasional blessing of the Supreme Court. Only for the tax break he needed Congress, I think. It's true what Drunk Cynic says that in many of the issues in which he bypassed Congress, there was a law allowing it... under the Supreme Court interpretation thereof.
    – Fizz
    Oct 10 '19 at 22:57
  • I voted to close this question, instead of proffering the answer I had intended, because it tended towards an ideological thought piece with heavy reliance on small 'r' republicanism, textualism, and a expansive critique of several SCOTUS decisions. On the second and third attempts to construct the answer, I found a similar solution, and felt too opinionated to address the question. Oct 11 '19 at 17:43

Per the Constitution, nearly all power resides in Congress. The reason the President has gained so much power is because Congress has given it to them. If Congress so choose, they could pass laws taking it back.

You list a few examples:

  • The President has the power, as commander in chief, to order the armed forces, but they don't have the power to pay, clothe, or arm them. The reason the President can send troops into combat without Congressional Approval is because Congress funds the Armed Forces without restrictions on how they're used. I see no reason that spending bills couldn't specify that the money could only be used on US soil. Then, if the President wanted to start a war, they would have to come to Congress to get the money for it
  • Trump can move funding around using Emergency Declarations because Congress passed a law allowing it and neglected to put in sufficient safeguards against Presidential misuse. They could amend that law to, for example, require that any declaration be approved by a positive vote of Congress within 2 weeks.
  • Trump can pass tariffs unilaterally because Congress passed a law allowing the President to create tariffs if they felt it was in the interest of national security and failed to include sufficient safeguards against misuse. They could eliminate that law, or pass a new one putting additional safeguards on the President's power.

Executive orders are a similar issue: they are not laws, they are instructions to members of the Executive branch on how to interpret laws. Congress could overrule EOs by passing a bill that includes clarifications on that previous law. They could also pass laws that have less room for interpretation and that put newly created agencies outside the control of political appointees.

Pardons are a different matter, as they are a power explicitly given to the President in the Constitution. I'm not sure how Congress would rein in a President who misused that power.

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    In addition, the Senate currently does not consider any bill unless the President would sign it. That has the effect of turning the overridable veto in the Constitution into an absolute veto, again moving power from Congress to the President. Oct 10 '19 at 23:24

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