The Presidency

HideShow resource information

powers of press - propose legislation

  • mostly through state of the union address
  • Obama's initiatives by Obama: 1healthcare refom 2Wall Street regulation reform 3credit card regulation reform 
1 of 29

powers of the pres - submit annual budget

  • drawn up for the pres by Office and Management Budget 
  • the pres then submitts it to congress
2 of 29

powers of the pres - sign legislation

  • once bills have passed through complex process in cong, it is passed to pres' desk
  • he has a no. of options but most likely to sign the bill into law 
3 of 29

powers of the pres - veto legislation

  • regular veto is used as a bargaining tool 
  • to veto a bill the pres must:

-veto the whole bill - return the bill to the house which 1st considered it within 10 days - included a note explaining objections 

-it is then up to congress whether to 1-do nothing 2-attempt to override the pres' veto requiring a 2/3 majority 

4 of 29

powers of the pres - act as chief exec

  • opening words of Article II of the const state that : 'the exec power shall be vested in a President of the US of America'
  • this makes the pres chief exec in charge of running the exec branch of the fed gov 
5 of 29

powers of the pres - nominate exec branch official

  • given the power to nominate hundreds of officals to the exec branch
  • most importnat of these are heads of the 15 exec departments such as state treasury & agriculture
  • they are then subject to the confirmation of the Senate
6 of 29

powers of the pres - nominate fed judges

  • invovles the pres making 100s of appointments
  • SC, fed trial & appeal courts 
  • judicial appointments are for life
  • appoinments of Sotomayor & Kagan
7 of 29

powers of the pres - act as commander in chief

  • sig power for pres' in 1940-1990s from Roosevelt to Bush
  • USA fighting ww2 then taking lead in Cold War, the pres' role as CIC was sig during a period that saw Korean, Vietnam & Gulf wars as well as Iraq & Afghanistan
  • less so in the post-Cold War era
  • pres is checked by congs 'power of the purse'
8 of 29

powers of the pres - negotiate treaties

  • Obama negotiated Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty w/ Russia in 2010 - a nuclear arms agreement
  • treaties ratified by the senate by a 2/3 majority 
9 of 29

powers of the pres - pardon

  • mostly used in controversial cases and high profile
  • Ford's 1974 pardon of Nixon 
10 of 29

the cabinet - definition & membership

  • not mentioned in the Const 
  • cabinet used as 'advice givers' selected by the pres to aid him in making decisions
  • made of 15 exec departments 
11 of 29

cabinet recruitment

pres' cabinet derive from diverse backgrounds 

  • Congress, but they myst be either former members or willing to resign their seat
  • state governors
  • city mayors
  • academics
  • policy specialists e.g Arne Duncan Education - CEO Chicago Public Schools, 2001-09
  • liable to come from wide geographic ranges, races gender ideologies & age 
  • Obama's 1st term cabinet the most ethincally diverse there has been 
12 of 29

cabinet meetings

  • number of meeting varies amongst presidencies, yet become less consistent towards the end of the presidency due to:
  • 1-some functions of cabinet no longer applicable 2-the pres has increasing calls on his time 3-pres' tend to become disillusioned w/ their cabinet officers, believing them to be disloyal 

meeting enable the pres to:

  • engender team spirit
  • look collegial & consultative
  • give info to cabinet members
  • glean infor from cab members 
  • debate policies 
  • present 'big picture' items such as budgest, tours & campaigns 
  • check up on legislation going through cong in which he has an interest
  • see cabinet members whom he would not otherwise see

meetings enable members to:

  • get to know
  • arrnage inter-departmental disputes
  • catch up w/other members
  • see the pres 
13 of 29

cabinet meetings

  • number of meeting varies amongst presidencies, yet become less consistent towards the end of the presidency due to:
  • 1-some functions of cabinet no longer applicable 2-the pres has increasing calls on his time 3-pres' tend to become disillusioned w/ their cabinet officers, believing them to be disloyal 

meeting enable the pres to:

  • engender team spirit
  • look collegial & consultative
  • give info to cabinet members
  • glean infor from cab members 
  • debate policies 
  • present 'big picture' items such as budgest, tours & campaigns 
  • check up on legislation going through cong in which he has an interest
  • see cabinet members whom he would not otherwise see

meetings enable members to:

  • get to know
  • arrnage inter-departmental disputes
  • catch up w/other members
  • see the pres 
14 of 29

relations w/ Executive Office of the Pres

they do not act as pres adivors b/c:

  • they have huge deparments to run
  • they are not based in the White House
  • they have loyalities other than those to the pres

-last reason leads to accusations of disloyalty from those whose principal function is to act as 'presidents men' -members of the EXOP

15 of 29

cabinet - important or not?

-individually its members are v.important, though some members are far more important than others, collectively the cabinet can never be that important BECAUSE: 1-Article II of the Const states that 'all exec power shall be vested in a pres' 2-there is no doctrine of collective responsibility 3-the pres is not '1st amongst equals' he is just '1st' 4-cabinet officers are not his pol rivals 5-they  have a problem of divided loyalty as well as a lack of proximity and access to the pres 6-the pres has EXOP, which is important in helping & advising him to achieve his goals 

16 of 29

EXOP - definition & membership

EXOP: umbrella term for an organisation that consists of top pres staff agencies that provide help, advice, coordination & adminstrative support to the pres 

EXOP grown to include a dozen offices w/ most important being:

  • the White House Office
  • the National Security Office
  • the Office of Management and Budget

EXOP created due to expansion in role of FED GOV in 1930s

also due to USA's role as world power

17 of 29

white house office

-most trusted and closest advisors, such as Press Sec, Chief of Staff & Assistan to the Pres for Legislative Affairs

-on a daily basis their work includes:

  • policy adivce
  • personnel management
  • crisis management
  • liasion w/fed bureacracy
  • liasion w/cong
  • running the White House
  • deciding & executing the pres' daily schedule
  • acting as 'lightning conductors' for the pres
  • ensuring an orderly decision-making process for the pres

-not policy-makers but 'honest-brokers', a passion for anonymity 

18 of 29

National Security Council

-established to help the pres coordinate F&Defence policies, headed by a National Security Advisor, it gathered info on groups such as:

  • State Deparment
  • Defense Department
  • CIA
  • relevant congressional committees
  • Joint Chiefs of Staffs

-NSC would then act as an honest broker and policy coordinator

-Nixon greatly increased the role of the NSA by Kissinger.

19 of 29

the Office of Management & Budget

2 functions of OMB are:

  • to advise the pres on allocation of fed funds in annual budget
  • oversee the spending of all fed gov departments & agencies 

-headed by an OMB director - the only EXOP position that requires senate confirmation

20 of 29

relations w/cong - checks by cong

  • almost every power owned by the pres is checked by cong
  • 'separated institutions, sharing powers' 
  • pres needs cong as he can do little without it 
  • this is part of the intricate system of 'checks and balances' designed by the FFs
  • the FF's ambition for cooperation & compromise often results in gridlock

powers of the pres & how they are checked by cong:

  • propose legislation - amend/block legislation
  • submit annual budget - amend/block budget
  • veto legislation - override veto
  • nominate exec officals - senate's power of confirmation 
  • nominate fed judges - senate's power of confirmation
  • negotiate treaties - senate's power of ratification
  • CIC of armed forced - declare war/power of purse
  • act as chief exec - investigation/impeachment/trial/removal
21 of 29

methods of pres persuasion

persuasion through people:

  • v.pres - as presiding officer of the senate, he has foothold in cong 
  • his own Office of Legislative AFfairs - part of the White House Office & those who work here act as full time lobbysists for the pres in cong
  • cabinet officers - these work in their own policy-regulated area
  • party leaders in cong, House Speaker, Majority/Minority leaders

persuasion through perks:

  • make phone calls to selected memebers of cong
  • offer help w/legislation that benefits members' constituents
  • offer held w/ fed exec/judicial appoinments of interest to constituents
  • invite members to a meeting at the White House
  • go to Capitol Hill to address selected group of members
  • offer to campaign for a member of his own party 
22 of 29

results of pres persuasion

  • pres' success rates measured in pres support score
  • the annual statistic measure how often the pres won in roll-call votes in H&S
  • 2009, Obama had 96.7% the highest ever recorded

although pres support score if useful as a guide to pres success:

  • the score does not measure the importance of votes
  • presidents can avoid low scores by simply not taking positions on votes they expect to lose
  • the score does not count bills which fail to even come to a vote on the floor of either house
23 of 29

relations w/ Supreme Court - pres power of nominat

  • 2 main powers relating to SC, 1st is a formal power - the power to nominate justices to the SC, subject to the approval & confirmation of the Senate and therefore may change the ideological balance within the Court 

recent examples of Pres' changing the balance of the Court:

  • Bush replaced Thurgood Marshall (liberal) w/ Clarence Thomas (conservative)
  • Bush also replaced Sandra O'Connor (moderate) w/ Samuel Alito (conservative)
24 of 29

pres' support or criticism of the Court

  • 2nd power is informal - the pres can deicded whether or not to support the decisions of the Court 
  • Obama's criticism of the Citizens United V Fed Election Campaign striking down parts of the 2002 bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
25 of 29

court's power of the Pres

  • SC has 1 power over the pres, to declare actions unconstitional 
  • US V Nixon - court declared that Nixon's refusal to hand over the 'White House Tapes' - concerning the Watergate affair - was unconstitutional 
26 of 29

factors that affect the presidency - limitations

5 main factors limiting the presidency:

1-public opinion - Clinton, despite his scandals, did well due to public approval ratings 

2-pressure groups - pressure groups can mobilise public opinion either for or against the president himself or his policies 

3- the media - all modern-day presidents live in an era where the media can profoundly limit what they are capable of

4-the fed bureaucracy - pres is only 1 person in an exec branch made of 15 exec departments & some other 60 fed gov agencies, boards & commissions, cooperation can be a challenge

5-federalism - not just the fed gov that limits the pres, fed gov programmes have to be implemented by state & local govs across the entire states

27 of 29

factors that can enhance pres power

1- size of the mandate @ last election 

2-1st rather than 2nd term - pres find it easier to govern in their 1st term, 2nd term pres' seen as 'lame ducks' and lose much of their political clout 

3-previous Washington experience - a pres who has had a good deal of experience finds it easier to get things done b/c they understand the system 

4-oratorical skills - being a good speaker can be an advantage - sig if tv debates between Nixon & Kennedy

5- competent senior White House staff - can prove critical, Clinton chose poorly and suffered

6-crises - a crisis can help a pres, provided it is well handled. 

28 of 29

imperial presidency

imperial presidency: used to refer to the a presidenc characterised by the misuse & abuse of power & highhandedness in dealing w/Cong.

-whilst the in some respects the presidency is weak, limited & checked, arguments imply an 'imperial presidency' is evident.

-Schlesinger 'imerpial presidency was essentially the creation of FP' this can be characterised in the presidencies of Nixon & Johnson by:

  • increased use of war-making powers
  • excessive secrecy
  • high-handedness in dealing w/cong
  • illegal activity
  • failure of tradition check & balances to work effectively 

flaws in the theory suggest:

  • Johnson was forced to decided not to stand for re-election 
  • Nixon forced to resign 
  • As Ford, who followed Nixon pointed out 'Our Constition works' - including its checks & balances 
  • by late 1970s talk of 'imperilled presidency' which was weak and ineffective
29 of 29

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Presidency in the USA resources »