US Executive Branch

  • Created by: KDallers-
  • Created on: 01-06-18 21:38
What are the constitutional requirements to become the President?
A natural born citizen; at least 35 years old; US resident for 14 years - the 22nd Amendment imposes a 2 term limit
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What are some of the assumed requirements to become the President?
Political experience (bar Eisenhower and Trump); major party endorsement; strong personal characteristics (Buchanan in 1857 was a bachelor); large campaign war chest (Bush 2004); strong campaigner; good orator; popular policies
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How is the executive branch checked by Congress?
Through impeachment and veto overriding, as well as advice and consent powers - intended by the Founding Fathers to avoid tyranny
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Where are the formal, enumerated powers of the President set out?
In Article 2 of the Constitution, which invests 'all executive power in a President' - a singular executive, with the President as Head of State and Government
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How did Teddy Roosevelt describe his role as President?
'I am both King and Prime Minister'
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What are the most important formal, enumerated powers of the President (that are not checked formally by Congress)
Commander-in-chief (most senior military officer); power of pardon (Clinton - Mark Rich + 134 others on final day, Trump-Arpaio, Ford-Nixon); propose legislation (through State of the Union); veto and pocket veto (Obama, 2014 Keystone XL Act)
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What enumerated powers of the President are checked by Congress?
Making treaties (New START 2010 approved; Treaty of Versailles and Test Ban rejected); appointments of judges, ambassadors, cabinet and ambassadors (Neil Gorsuch SCOTUS 2017 - also recess w/ NO APPROVAL); veto (can be overridden - JASOTA 2016)
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What other formal powers does the President have?
To form commissions; to take advice from Cabinet; to convene an emergency session of Congress; 'faithful execution' of laws
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What is an executive order, and how are they used?
This is a written order from the President to the government telling them how to interpret and enforce a law (has full legal force) - used by Truman (ban segregation); Eisenhower (protecting black students with troops); JFK (for affirmative action)
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What is prosecutorial discretion, and how is it used?
The power to instruct prosecutors on who to focus on, as not everyone can be prosecuted - Obama - focussing on adult illegal immigrants over children
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What are signing statements, and how are they used?
A written statement by the President commenting on an Act as they sign it into law - can either support or undermine a bill - used 1,200 times by Bush Jr.
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What is executive privilege, and how is it used?
The power to withhold documents or refuse to testify if the President believes it would threaten the government - can withhold classified info - Bush 2008 over Karl Rove, Obama 2010 over 'Operation Fast and Furious'
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What other implied powers does the President have?
Power to recognise foreign governments (Obama with Cuba 2014), the power to launch military operations (through War Powers Act 1973 - total of 90 days), and through executive agreements (Obama Iran Nuclear Deal 2015 - can be congressional-executive)
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How can the Constitution limit Presidential power?
By imposing ADVICE AND CONSENT powers over Presidential appointments - the Senate must approve Presidential appointments in judiciary, ambassadorial roles, Cabinet appointments, and treaties - also through Cabinet advice
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How can the Supreme Court limit Presidential power?
Through judicial review (Marbury v Madison); have ruled line item veto unconstitutional (Clinton v NTC); ruled against executive privilege (US v Nixon); Hamdan v Rumsfeld (Bush Gitmo courts); Truman (steel mills in Korean War)
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How does Congress limit Presidential power?
The biggest limitation - through advice and consent powers, the 'power of the purse' (refusing to appropriate funds to the executive), veto overrides and defeating legislation proposed by the President
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What other factors limit Presidential power?
OPINION (popular President - Clinton avoided impeachment, Nixon didn't - Bush passing AUMF 2004 post-9/11 - popular, Obama as a 'lame duck); MEDIA (reflects opinion - attacked Carter, Clinton and LBJ); BUREAUCRACY (iron triangles and clientelism)
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Prior to 1804, what was the role of the Vice President?
The runner-up of the Presidential election - chosen by the Senate in the event of deadlock - Adams as the first VP and 2nd President - Jefferson after - the rise of the Dem-Rep and Federalist parties meant this was untenable
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What impact did the 12th Amendment of 1804 have on the VP?
Established a 'joint-ticket', making the VP a 'running mate' - new role to 'BALANCE THE TICKET' - JFK and LBJ in 1960 (North and South), McCain-Palin, Obama-Biden, Reagan-Bush Sr.,
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How did the 12th Amendment undermine the office of VP?
Made the VP useful for the election, and useless after (said by an aide to Hubert Humphrey) - meant the VP office was vacant in the 19th century for 38 years
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Who was deemed 'the first modern Vice President' and for what reasons?
Nixon under Eisenhower - he supported Eisenhower in his growing role as President and failing health by chairing national security meetings and becoming 'Acting President' as Eisenhower had a heart attack
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Why did the role of the VP grow?
- National Security issues growing, - larger role of government, - growing international role in Cold War, - more Washington outsiders becoming President (Eisenhower, Trump, Bush Jr.)
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How did the 25th Amendment impact the office of VP?
President could now nominate a new VP - Nixon chose Ford after Agnew resigned in 1973 over fraud; Ford chose Rockefeller as VP (Congress approved); also through 'Acting President' if President deemed 'unfit to serve' - Cheney with Bush 2007
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What are the roles of the VP?
1) President of Senate (delegated to Pres. Pro Temp.); 2) Tiebreaker vote in Senate (used 8 times by Cheney); 3) Announce EC votes (Gore's defeat 2001 - Bush's victory 1989); 4) Becoming President - if Pres. dies/resigns - Ford 1974, Truman 1945
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How has the new, modern VP been described?
A 'heartbeat away from the Presidency' (Adams quote); also as a valuable tool to 'persuade' Congress (Cheney for Bush, Biden for Obama) and as policy influences (Gore on environment, Cheney on foreign affairs, Pence for Trump over North Korea)
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What is the federal bureaucracy and why have they expanded over time?
The civil service of the US - execute laws - 2.5m - began in 1789 with War, State and Treasury Depts. - grew due to: - Westward expansion, - New Deal and Great Society, - federal taxation (16th), - war, - Civil Service Reform Act 1978
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How were high-ranking bureaucrats appointed in the past?
Used to be through the 'spoils system' (a form of patronage); supporters of the President got high jobs - Jackson used it a lot - became an issue when President Garfield was assassinated in 1881 by someone unhappy with spoils
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How has the appointments process developed over time?
The 1883 Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act established the US Office of Personnel Management, who control appointments today - done by meritocracy; only 10% now come through spoils - affirmative action is also prevalent (started by JFK/Clinton)
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What are executive departments?
Organisations which are responsible for separate issues - headed by a Secretary, who is part of Cabinet (Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State) - then assistants, deputies etc. - currently 15 depts, contains agencies (Food and Drug Admin in Health, FBI)
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What are independent agencies?
Similar to departments, but free from Presidential control (to an extent) - still led by a President-appointed director - EPA, NASA, CIA etc - can grow into departments - Veterans Affairs in 1989
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What are independent (regulatory) commissions?
Commissions regulate industries through rules and arbitration - created by Congress, and limit Presidential control - run by a bipartisan board on staggered terms - FEC (1974), Federal Reserve Board
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What are government corporations?
Like UK nationalised industries - companies owned by the government - have freedoms like a private company, but integrated with the executive - USPS, AMTRAK
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What are the functions of the federal bureaucracy?
IMPLEMENTATION (of laws passed by Congress), REGULATION (creating legally binding regulations - 1970 Clean Air Act - EPA regulations over SO2 levels), ADJUDICATION (enforcing rules through trial-style hearings - 2014 - Hyundai and Kia $100m over CAA)
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Wha are iron triangles?
Links between congressional committees, departments and interest groups which cause corruption to policy areas - ie Agricultural Triangle led to tobacco farmers donating $2m in 1992 elections; Defence Triangle - John Murtha, $1m donation 2008
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What is 'going native'/clientelism?
When bureaucrats seek to serve the interests of their colleagues rather than of the President - corrupted by the department
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What are 'imperialism' and 'incrementalism'?
IMPERIALISM - when agencies compete with other agencies in 'turf battles' to gain power; INCREMENTALISM - when agencies work slowly to expand and resist change (bureaucratic expansion)
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What other issues are there with the federal bureaucracy?
Revolving door syndrome (when legislators work for the bureaucracy and vice versa, causing influence over the bureaucracy) and agency capture (interest groups 'capture' agencies)
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How does US Cabinet work?
It has no constitutional status, and isn't mentioned in the Constitution, but acts as the 'body of advisers' that the President must take advice from - not as powerful as UK due to lack of collective responsibility and separation of powers
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How much Presidential control is there over the Cabinet?
Almost total - the President can appoint anyone of his choice, and can have as many meetings as they like - Reagan used it a lot, FDR did not
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What factors does the President take into account when appointed Cabinet officers?
BIPARTISANSHIP (Kirkpatrick-Reagan, Hagel-Obama), different levels of office (academics, mayors, governors and Congressmen), REGION, RACE, GENDER, AGE and IDEOLOGY
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Who was the first black Cabinet officer?
Robert Weaver under LBJ
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Who were some notable women in Cabinet?
Madeleine Allbright 1992, Condoleezza Rice 2004, Hillary Clinton 2009
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What is an example of someone 'p****ing in the tent' in Cabinet?
Colin Powell as a 'dovish' Secretary of State under Bush to represent 'compassionate conservatism'
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Give a few examples of the President selecting people through the 'spoils system' for Cabinet.
Trump selecting Ben Carson in 2016 (also racial balance)
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How else does the President operate his Cabinet?
Can change for the 2nd term (Bush did, and Clinton), can make replacement appointments and approve with Senate (Trump - Pompeo for Tillerson 2018)
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Which Cabinet jobs are more important?
Roles such as State - 13 Secretaries of State from 1961-2008 vs 20 Secretaries of Commerce
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What are the functions of the Cabinet?
IMPLEMENT POLICY (Bush over Iraq 2002 - led to debate), COMMITTEES - represent executive in hearings (Chao 2018), RELATIONS WITH PRESIDENT (consult the President, or 'catch the President' after meetings), SUPPORT THE PRESIDENT (solve disputes - Ford)
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How important is the Cabinet to the President?
Varies - important in first year (Reagan, 36 meetings 1st year vs Clinton having 6), then declines - Cabinet knows eachother, focus on reelection (Carter 1980), President may become disillusioned (Nixon and Carter)
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Why is the Cabinet feared by some Presidents?
They form part of 'iron triangles' - also due to clientelism
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Overall, how important is the Cabinet today?
Not very - growth of EXOP, no constitutional powers, weaker than UK - responsible to the President, but not always loyal - more representative than UK, but far less important
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What is EXOP and why was it formed (and when)?
EXOP are the offices that support the President with personal and political advice - have grown since 1939 Brownlow Cmt. discovered 'President needs help'
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How have EXOP been described?
As the 'President's personal bureaucracy' and as 'all the President's men' - are more loyal than Cabinet, and are commanded by the President - EXOP contains the President's closest advisers
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What is the main office within EXOP?
The White House Office, headed by the Chief of Staff (currently John Kelly) - good CoS' - Andrew Card, James Baker - poor CoS - John Sununu, Donald Began and Mack McLarty
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What does the National Security Council do?
Headed by National Security Adviser; advises the President on foreign matters
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What does the Office of Management and Budget do?
Constructs the federal budget, coordinates government spending - provide different advice than the Treasury
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What other offices of EXOP exist?
The Office on Drug Control Policy; Council on Environmental Quality
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What are the criticisms of EXOP?
TOO CLOSE to the President leading to 'cronyism' (Axelrod and Obama); UNELECTED and have massive power while being unaccountable to Congress; POLICY DRIFT - disputes between Cabinet and EXOP distract the President - policy ignored (Obama with NSC)
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Overall, are EXOP or Cabinet more powerful?
Probably EXOP - are closer to the President, and are not susceptible to 'going native' - however, are too close to the President, encourage 'policy drift', and are unelected
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Who suggested that 'Presidential power is the power to persuade'?
Richard Neustadt and Harry Truman
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Who is the President trying to persuade?
Congress - Congress checks every power the President has, through impeachment, the power of the purse, override powers and advice and consent
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How can the President be more effective in their persuasion of Congress?
Popularity (Clinton, Reagan), Coattails effect (Trump 2016), external factors (crises - Bush 9/11)
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What other 'tools' can the President use to persuade Congress?
VP (Washington insiders - Cheney, Biden, Mondale (first)); Office of Leg. Affairs (EXOP, lobby for President in Congress); Cabinet officers (Colin Powell, Iraq); Party leaders (Trent Loft resignation 2002)
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What limits are there on the power to persuade?
Time in term (Obama, 'lame duck'); Party discipline (rising partisanship); Washington insider (Ford, persuaded easily); Mandate (strong mandate = more persuasive, Obama 2008; Bush after 9/11)
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What other limits are there on the power to persuade?
Partisan support (harder to gain bipartisanship - Obama couldn't Obamacare); Crises (good crisis management meant easy persuasion, Bush 9/11); Vision (Bush Sr. - 'the vision thing')
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Who described the US President as 'imperial'?
Arthur Schlesinger 1973
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Why did Schlesinger describe the President as 'imperial'?
WAR - 1950, Truman-Korea; 1958, Eisenhower-Lebanon; 1961, JFK-Cuba; 1964 LBJ-Gulf of Tonkin; 1970, Nixon-Cambodia)
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How did Congress change this perception of an 'imperial' President?
1972 Case-Zablocki Act (must inform Congress of foreign policy movements); 1973 War Powers Resolution (60 days of action + 30 to withdraw); 1974 Budget Control (President cannot impound funds apprnd. by Congress)
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Who described the US President as 'imperilled'?
Gerald Ford 1975
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Why did Ford describe the President as 'imperilled'?
Nixon's resignation 1974; reasons on card 67 - constraints on President from Congress + federal bureaucracy
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How can Bush be described on the 'imperial-imperilled' scale?
Rather imperial - the 'War President' - 2001 USA PATRIOT Act; Hamdan v Rumsfeld; Iraq War 2003; Homeland Security Dept. 2002 etc - NO OVERSIGHT 03-07
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How can Obama be described on the 'imperial-imperilled' scale?
More 'imperilled' - no Congressional majorities, war in Afghanistan, targeted by Rs + economic crisis - BUT - bombing of Syria and Libya + Iran deal - IMPERIAL?
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What is the 'two presidencies' theory?
The idea that there is a foreign policy President, and a domestic policy President - it is harder to execute domestic policy than foreign policy
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What examples are there of this?
Obama - he watched the Bin Laden assassination live, but people were not bothered and were protesting for Obamacare simultaneously
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How does Congress relate to this theory?
Foreign policy is hard to formulate in Congress - due to complexity and disagreements - executive agreements used - CONGRESS CONSTRAINS DOMESTIC POLICY
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How can the presidency be described according to this theory?
A bifurcated Presidency
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Card 2


What are some of the assumed requirements to become the President?


Political experience (bar Eisenhower and Trump); major party endorsement; strong personal characteristics (Buchanan in 1857 was a bachelor); large campaign war chest (Bush 2004); strong campaigner; good orator; popular policies

Card 3


How is the executive branch checked by Congress?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Where are the formal, enumerated powers of the President set out?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How did Teddy Roosevelt describe his role as President?


Preview of the front of card 5
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