No matter who wins the presidential election on Nov. 8, our government will soon be led by a president much of the population distrusts, and by a Congress just about everybody considers dysfunctional. The nation is facing a crisis of no confidence in our government.

During the lame-duck session, Congress has the opportunity to begin restoring constitutional balance to the workings of government. We have already sent a letter to the Maine delegation, asking them to take the lead.

Two tasks seem, to us, immediately crucial: (1) Reinforcing constitutional limits on the executive branch, and (2) Getting the legislative branch to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.

• The executive branch may not carry out any action that does not have specific authorization from Congress (no blank checks) and that is not subject to oversight, even prosecution, from Congress and the judiciary (no president is above the law). Affirming this principle is especially important when confidence in a particular president’s trustworthiness is low.

• The responsibilities of Congress to make the laws, determine if and when the nation goes to war, and produce a budget are not subservient to the power of the president. Yes, it’s easier to have one decision maker instead of 535. It’s also unconstitutional.

These tasks won’t be easy. They may not be completed by Inauguration Day. But Congress can begin correcting the course of our great ship of state before the new president takes office.

David and Mary Henry