The Presidency

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  • Created on: 12-05-14 16:00
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What are the formal powers of the President?
· Veto. This is the power to reject any legislation that they
dislike, and do this by sending it back to Congress with
improvements. Congress can attempt to override it, but this
is difficult. They can also use the pocket veto, which is used
at the end of a legislative session, when legislation that has
not gone forward is "lost behind the sofa", so to speak. This
cannot be overridden.. For example, the regular veto has
been used just over 1,500 times.
· Commander in Chief. This is the power the President has
over the troops, and can use them to deal with a situation
that arises, internally or externally. This power was often
utilized during the Cold War, such as Kennedy in Cuba.
· Executive Chief- The Constitution makes the President head
of the executive, however he does not often act in this role,
as the President is mostly busy with other roles. However, he
does act in this role at cabinet meetings, though this
depends on how much he calls them. Reagan had 37 in one
year whilst Clinton only had 6 in one year.
· Negotiate treaties- This is a power to make agreements
across the world, primarily agreements that will benefit the
US. The treaties, however, are subject to Senate approval, so
the President will likely keep the Senate up to date with
negotiations to ensure their approval.
· Nominating judges/executive officials- This is the power to
nominate people to the executive and judiciary. Not only to
the President's cabinet, but also to various executive
agencies, such as Obama when became a new President in
2009 and had to appoint a whole new cabinet. Within the
judiciary, they must also appoint judges to district and
appeals courts as well as the Supreme Court, for example
Obama's SC nominees Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan.
However, all these appointments are all subject to Senate
approval and can be rejected- eg Robert Bork in 1987.
· Propose legislation- This is the power to recommend any
legislation to Congress, mostly at the annual State of Union
Address, but also at press conferences and public events. For
example, Bush proposed the No Child Left Behind Act,
despite its controversy and pushed through with it.
· Submit annual budget. This is the power to suggest how
money be spent for the coming year, usually drawn up by

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Office of Management and Budget, part of EXOP, on
behalf of the President. After it has been submitted, a
lengthy bargaining process begins with Congress. A failure to
agree to a budget can lead to a government shutdown, such
as in October 2013 when Republicans refused to agree to a
budget because of Obama's healthcare reforms.
· Pardon. This is the power to acquit any criminal of their
crimes.…read more

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For example, FEMA's response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
was criticised for its inefficiency.
· Waste. Likely because of its size and dedication to routine,
the federal bureaucracy is more wasteful then the private
sector in dealing with its resources.
· Clientelism. This is when the federal bureaucracy become
closer with the agencies there are supposed to be
overseeing- they become more of a lapdog then a watchdog.
· Imperialism.…read more

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President's goals and what he wants. However, it is also argued
that the cabinet is not important. This is mainly because it
depends on how the President uses the cabinet- they may barely
use them, such as Clinton, who held 6 meetings in one year, in
contrast to Reagan who held 37 meetings in one year. Their
importance dwindles if they are barely used. Further, their role
has been decreased with EXOP, a significant rival for the
President's attention.…read more

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· Another way the President has influence is through perks as
the President, such as offering members help, inviting
members to the White House, addressing Capitol Hill itself,
campaigning for party members and appealing directly to the
· The President can offer help in passing legislation for
members that will benefit their constituents, and thus
increasing their popularity. Effective for key members.…read more

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They are more likely to change the political
outlook of the court based on their ideology.
What factors limit or enhance presidential power?
· Size of majority. If the President wins in a large majority, for
example in 1980 and 1984 with Reagan (in the latter he only
lost one state and Washington DC), it makes easier for the
President to pass legislation and fulfil the electorate's
wishes. This gains him support more support.…read more

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Washington, relying heavily on his
Vice President Cheney which reflected on him badly.
· Pressure groups- These are highly influential and some have
high loyalty to certain parties, such as the NRA and
Republican Party. This works in favour for Republicans when
they are in power, and ensures them support, however, this
restricts the Democrats when they are in power and prevents
them making laws.
· Constitutional checks- (LIMIT ONLY)- Checks by the
legislative branch limit the President in his actions.…read more


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