powers that be, the

the powers that be

The people or forces who are in a position of authority or control. Everyone thought the bill would be passed immediately, but the powers that be have decided to kill it before it gained any traction. We do have the power to effect change by voting, but, between elections, we're largely at the mercy of the powers that be.
See also: power, that

powers that be, the

Those in control, the authorities, as in Our plan was vetoed by the powers that be. This expression appeared in William Tyndale's 1526 translation of the Bible (Romans 13:1): "The powers that be are ordained of God."
See also: power, that