Limits on the Power of the President

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  • Limits on Presidential Power
    • Congress
      • Amend, delay or reject the president's legislative proposals
      • Amend his budgetary requests through the power of the purse
      • Refuse the ratify treaties negotiated by the President (Senate only)
      • Investigate the President's actions and policies
      • Impeach and try the President with possible removal from office if found guilty
    • The Supreme Court
      • Can declare the actions of any member of the executive branch, including the President, to be unconstitutional
    • Public Opinion
      • President Clinton  only survived the Monica Lewinsky Scandal amongst other scandals during his time as President because his public opinion ratings remained high.
      • After 9/11 Bush Jnr's approval ratings rose to 86%. By 2008 the ratings were in the 30% range.
    • The Media
      • Presidents are now scrutinised almost 24 hours a day.
    • The Federal Bureaucracy
      • The President is only one person in an executive branch made up of 15 executive departments and around 60 other federal government agencies, boards and commissions employing more than 3 million civil servants.
      • The federal bureaucracy has proved to be one of the biggest problems for presidents, most modern day presidents have tried to cut back the bureaucracy or make it more efficient but have failed
    • Other Factors
      • The President's own professional reputation - how he gets on with other politicians, particularly in Congress, his choice of Cabinet etc.
      • How much support the President has from his own party
  • Override the presidential veto
    • Congress
      • Amend, delay or reject the president's legislative proposals
      • Amend his budgetary requests through the power of the purse
      • Refuse the ratify treaties negotiated by the President (Senate only)
      • Investigate the President's actions and policies
      • Impeach and try the President with possible removal from office if found guilty
  • Reject nominations made by the President (Senate only)
    • Pressure Groups
      • Limits on Presidential Power
        • The Supreme Court
          • Can declare the actions of any member of the executive branch, including the President, to be unconstitutional
        • Public Opinion
          • President Clinton  only survived the Monica Lewinsky Scandal amongst other scandals during his time as President because his public opinion ratings remained high.
          • After 9/11 Bush Jnr's approval ratings rose to 86%. By 2008 the ratings were in the 30% range.
        • The Media
          • Presidents are now scrutinised almost 24 hours a day.
        • The Federal Bureaucracy
          • The President is only one person in an executive branch made up of 15 executive departments and around 60 other federal government agencies, boards and commissions employing more than 3 million civil servants.
          • The federal bureaucracy has proved to be one of the biggest problems for presidents, most modern day presidents have tried to cut back the bureaucracy or make it more efficient but have failed
        • Other Factors
          • The President's own professional reputation - how he gets on with other politicians, particularly in Congress, his choice of Cabinet etc.
          • How much support the President has from his own party
      • Pressure groups can mobilise public opinion either for or against the president himself or his policies.
    • Crises can either make or break a President. 9/11 gave Bush Jnr a huge amount of power, particularly with his War on Terror, whereas other Presidents have had their terms of  office dominated by a crisis.

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