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Notes on Executive branch

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  1. 1. Executive Branch
  2. 2. Duties of the President• The constitution grants the president: – power as commander in chief of the armed forces, – the authority to appoint—with Senate’s consent—heads of executive departments, federal court judges, and other top officials, – the duty to ensure that all the laws of the United States are faithfully executed, and – lawmaking power.
  3. 3. Presidential Qualifications• Article II, Section 1 defines the formal requirements for the presidency: – a natural-born citizen of the United States – at least 35 years old – a resident of the United States for at least 14 years• The same requirements apply to the vice president.
  4. 4. Presidential Succession• After John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the nation realized that the Constitution’s rules for presidential successionwere inadequate.• In 1967, the Twenty-fifth Amendment was ratified to clarify success to the presidency and vice presidency. Line of Presidential Succession
  5. 5. Figure 1
  6. 6. The Vice President’s Role• The Constitution gives the vice president two duties: – The vice president presides over the Senate and votes in that body in case of a tie. – Under the Twenty-fifth Amendment, the vice president helps decide whether the president is disabled and acts as president should that happen.
  7. 7. The Vice President’s Role (cont.)• Before the Eisenhower administration, the vice presidency was almost a purely ceremonial office.• Vice presidents today now often participate in policy meetings, undertake special assignments, and are members of the National Security Council.
  8. 8. Selection of the Cabinet• The president appoints the secretaries that head the 15 major executive departments.• The 15 secretaries, the vice president, and several other top officials make up the cabinet.• Cabinet secretaries advise the president, but they also serve as the administrators of large bureaucracies.
  9. 9. Selection of the Cabinet (cont.)• Before making final cabinet decisions, members of the president-elect’s team may leak, or deliberately disclose, some candidates’ names to the news media to test the reaction of Congress, interest groups, and the public.
  10. 10. The Role of the Cabinet• Each cabinet member is responsible for the executive department that he or she heads.• As a group, the cabinet is intended to serve as an advisory body to the president.• Throughout history, the cabinet’s role in decision making depended on the president’s wishes. Historical and Political Reasons for Cabinet Status
  11. 11. The Role of the Cabinet (cont.)• Though several recent presidents have attempted to increase the cabinet’s role, most have ended up going elsewhere for advice. Historical and Political Reasons for Cabinet Status
  12. 12. The Role of the Cabinet (cont.)• Some cabinet members—known as the ―inner cabinet‖—have greater influence because their departments are concerned with the most sensitive national issues. They include: – secretary of state, – secretary of defense, – secretary of treasury, and – the attorney general. Historical and Political Reasons for Cabinet Status
  13. 13. Figure 1
  14. 14. Figure 4
  15. 15. `Executive Office Agencies• The Executive Office of the President (EOP) was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress in 1939 to serve the needs of each administration.• Today the EOP staffs include attorneys, scientists, social scientists, and other highly technical or professional personnel. Executive Office Employees, 1948-Present
  16. 16. Executive Office Agencies (cont.)• The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prepares the national budget for the president, who then presents it to Congress.• The OMB also reviews all legislative proposals that executive agencies prepare. This review is called central clearance. Executive Office Employees, 1948-Present
  17. 17. Executive Office Agencies (cont.)• Congress created the National Security Council (NSC) to advise the president and to coordinate U.S. military and foreign policy.• A special assistant, theNational Security Advisor, directs the NSC staff. Executive Office Employees, 1948-Present
  18. 18. Executive Office Agencies (cont.)• President George W. Bush created the Office of Homeland Security within the EOP to coordinate the activities of a majority of the federal agencies that were working to fight terrorism. Executive Office Employees, 1948-Present
  19. 19. Figure 2
  20. 20. Executive Office Agencies (cont.)• The Council of Economic Advisers was created to assess the nation’s economic health, predict future economic conditions, and support other executive agencies that are involved in economic planning. Executive Office Employees, 1948-Present
  21. 21. The White House Office• The White House staff is chosen by the president without Senate confirmation.• White House aides perform whatever duties the president assigns them.• The press secretary heads a staff that handles relations with the press corps, sets up press conferences, and issues public statements.• Recent presidents have given top White House staff more authority over policymaking.
  22. 22. Chapter Summary start
  23. 23. Figure 2
  24. 24. Constitutional Powers (cont.)• Article II, Sections 2 and 3 define the president’s powers: – The president is commander in chief of the armed forces, responsible for national security. – The president appoints, and the Senate confirms, the heads of executive departments. Comparing Governments
  25. 25. Constitutional Powers (cont.) – The president conducts foreign policy— making treaties (with the Senate’s approval) and appointing ambassadors. – The president appoints federal court judges, can pardon those convicted of federal crimes and can reduce a person’s jail sentence or fine. Comparing Governments
  26. 26. Constitutional Powers (cont.) – The president ensures that the laws Congress passes are ―faithfully executed.‖ – The president delivers an annual State of the Union message to Congress, proposes legislation, and can call Congress into special session when necessary. Comparing Governments
  27. 27. Informal Sources of Power• A number of presidents have expanded the powers of the executive because of their beliefs about the office. – Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. – Theodore Roosevelt said that the president has the right and duty to ―do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded, unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws.‖
  28. 28. Informal Sources of Power (cont.) – During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and jailed opponents of the Union without trial or the legal authority to do so. – During the Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt expanded the role of the federal government in the economy.
  29. 29. Informal Sources of Power (cont.) – Following the terrorist attacks of 2001, George W. Bush gained sweeping authority from Congress to fight terrorism.• A mandate—the expressed will of the people, often in an election—is one of the greatest sources of political power.• Major newspapers, magazines and the Internet provide a forum, or medium for discussion, for presidential messages.
  30. 30. Limits on Executive Power• Congress can limit the president’s authority. – Congress can pass legislation even after a president has vetoed it. – The Senate must confirm a president’s appointees. – The House of Representatives must approve the budget. – The House and the Senate can use the impeachment process to remove the president from office.
  31. 31. Limits on Executive Power (cont.)IMarburyv. Madison, the Supreme Court said that it had the right to the final interpretation of whether an act of the legislature or the president violates the Constitution. • The federal bureaucracy can obstruct presidents’ programs unintentionally by failing to provide needed information, by misinterpreting instructions, and by not completing a task properly.
  32. 32. Limits on Executive Power (cont.)• Public opinion can also affect a president. Without favorable public opinion, no president can carry out a political program.
  33. 33. Head of State• As head of state, the president represents the nation and performs many ceremonial roles.• The president is the nation’s chief diplomat.• As a living symbol of the nation, the president is not just a single individual, but the collective image of the United States.
  34. 34. Chief Executive• As the nation’s chief executive, the president sees that the laws of Congress are carried out.• Presidents have several tools to influence how laws are carried out: – executive orders, or rules that have the force of law, – the power to appoint people to important offices in the executive branch,
  35. 35. Chief Executive (cont.) – the right to fire officials they have appointed, – impoundmentof funds—refusing to allow a federal department or agency to spend money Congress has appropriated, and – the power to appoint officials to the judiciary.
  36. 36. Chief Executive (cont.)• The president can also grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States. – A reprievegrants a postponement of legal punishment. – A pardonis a release from legal punishment.
  37. 37. Chief Executive (cont.)• The president may grant amnesty— a group pardon to people for an offense against the government, often in a military situation.
  38. 38. Chief Legislator• Congress expects the executive branch to propose legislation it wishes to see enacted.• Usually the president describes a legislative program in the annual State of the Union message to Congress.• The president has a large staff to help write legislation.• An important presidential tool in lawmaking is the power to veto any bill the Congress sends for approval.
  39. 39. Economic Planner• The Employment Act of 1946 gave new duties to the president: – It directed the president to submit an annual economic report to Congress. – It created a Council of Economic Advisers to study the economy and help prepare a report for the president.
  40. 40. Economic Planner (cont.) – It said that the federal government was responsible for promoting high employment, production, and purchasing power.• It is the president’s duty to prepare an annual budget.
  41. 41. Party Leader• The president’s party expects the chief executive to be a party leader.• Presidents are expected to appoint members of their party to government jobs.• Political patronage, or appointment to a political office, rewards the people who have helped get a president elected.• If a president appears to act in a partisan way the media and public may be critical.
  42. 42. Chief Diplomat• The president directs the foreign policy of the United States, making key decisions about the relations the United States has with other countries of the world.• A struggle continues between the president and Congress over who will exercise control of the country’s foreign policy.• The ability to take decisive action has added greatly to the power of the presidency in foreign affairs.
  43. 43. Chief Diplomat (cont.)• As chief diplomat, the president has sole power to negotiate and sign treaties— formal agreements between the governments of two or more countries.• Two-thirds of the Senate must approve of all treaties before they can go into effect.• The president has the authority to make executive agreements —pacts between the president and the head of a foreign government.
  44. 44. Chief Diplomat (cont.)• Executive agreements have the same legal status as treaties but do not require Senate consent.• The president decides whether the U.S. will recognize governments of other countries.
  45. 45. Commander in Chief• The president shares with Congress the power to make war.• The president is responsible for the key military decisions that represent overall policy and strategy.• The president has the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.• During war, Congress is likely to give the president special powers at home as well as abroad.
  46. 46. Increased Responsibilities• The Founders originally intended for the Congress, not the president, to lead the nation.• Instead the powers and duties of the president have grown steadily over the years.• Public opinion surveys clearly show that Americans look to the president to keep the peace and to solve economic and social problems.
  47. 47. Leadership Qualities and Skills• A president must know and understand the American people.• When a president has public support, presidential proposals and policies are better received by Congress than when the public holds a president in low regard.• Successful presidents must be able to communicate effectively and to present their ideas in a way that inspires public support.
  48. 48. Leadership Qualities and Skills (cont.)• A successful president must know when the time is right to introduce a new policy, make a key decision, or to delay such actions.• Good leadership also requires the capacity to be flexible and open to new ideas.• A successful president must be able to recognize that sometimes they have to settle for legislation that provides only part of the programs they want.
  49. 49. Leadership Qualities and Skills (cont.)• Successful presidents need political courage to go against public opinion to do what they think is best.
  50. 50. Presidential Isolation (cont.)• One of President Reagan’s staffers called Reagan’s chief of staff the de facto president, meaning that although he did not legally hold the office, he exercised the power as if he were president.• President Reagan’s isolation made it believable when he claimed he was unaware of the covert, or secret, activities of his National Security Council staff in the Iran- Contra affair.
  51. 51. Presidential Isolation (cont.)• Keeping in direct touch with the public can be very difficult for a modern president.• The need for the cabinet members to protect the interests of their departments and the constituent groups they serve always influences the advice they give.
  52. 52. Executive Privilege• To keep their White House discussions confidential, modern presidents have sometimes used executive privilege— the right of the president and other high- ranking executive officers, with the president’s consent, to refuse to provide information to congress or a Court.• Presidents claim executive privilege is necessary to protect their communication with executive branch staff.
  53. 53. Executive Privilege (cont.)• As more policy has been made in the Executive Office of the President, the constitutionality and limits of executive privilege have become controversial.
  54. 54. Chapter SummaryRoles of the President• Head of State—Performs ceremonial roles• Chief Executive—Sees that laws of Congress are carried out• Chief Legislator—Proposes legislation• Economic Planner—Prepares federal budget• Party Leader—Supports party members• Chief Diplomat—Directs foreign policy• Commander in Chief—Commands armed forces of the United States
  55. 55. Chapter SummaryPresidential Leadership Skills• Understanding of the public• Ability to communicate• Sense of timing• Openness to new ideas• Ability to compromise• Political courage
  56. 56. Figure 1
  57. 57. Figure 6
  58. 58. Figure 3