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The Presidency


The Presidency Powers of the President Evolution of the Presidency Vice President and Cabinet Presidential Influence and Effectiveness – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Presidency

The Presidency
  1. Powers of the President
  2. Evolution of the Presidency
  3. Vice President and Cabinet
  4. Presidential Influence and Effectiveness

Vision of the Founders
  • Article II of the US Constitution spells out few
    enumerated powers
  • Alexander Hamilton explained the founders vision
    for a single, independent executive in Federalist

An Independent Executive
  • Most modern democracies use a parliamentary
    system with an executive who is part of the
    legislative branch.
  • In the US, our independent executive is an
    important part of our separation of powers.

Hamiltons Federalist 70
Hamilton discussed the need for a single,
independent executive strong enough to carry out
the nations laws and protect the nation in a
A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of
the government.
Who can be President?
  • 35 years old
  • Natural-born US citizen
  • 14 years of residency in US

Constitutional Amendments affecting the Presidency
  • 12th Amendment (1804)
  • Divided vote for President and VP
  • 22nd Amendment (1951)
  • Limited President to two terms (or ten years)
  • 25th Amendment
  • Temporary removal of President from office due to
    inability to perform his duties
  • Majority vote of cabinet or Congress

Three Basic Powers of the Presidency
  • Commander-in-Chief
  • -- supreme commander of armed forces
  • -- power to make war, not declare war
  • 2. Diplomat-in-Chief
  • -- power to negotiate treaties and executive
    agreements and guide foreign relations
  • Administrator-in-Chief
  • -- head of all executive departments
  • -- supervisor of day-to-day operations of
    federal government

Other Presidential Powers
  • Appointment of federal officials
  • Veto power
  • Pardon power
  • Those convicted of federal crimes
  • Take care power
  • faithfully execute federal laws
  • Gives rise to inherent powers
  • Power to inform and convene Congress
  • State of the Union address

Presidential Succession
  • According to Constitution, VP succeeds President
    if necessary
  • Congress has created a further line of
  • Speaker of the House
  • President pro-tempore of Senate
  • Cabinet officers

Controversies Involving Presidential Powers
  1. War Power
  2. Executive Privilege
  3. Executive Orders
  4. Spending Power

War Power
  • Congress has the exclusive right to declare war.
  • No declared wars since World War II
  • Since then, presidents have sent combat troops
    to Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait,
    Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan?

Does the President Need Congressional
Authorization to Commit US Troops to Combat?
  • Maybe . . .

War Powers Resolution (1973)
  • President may commit troops to combat only
  • With a declaration of war from Congress
  • By other authorization of Congress
  • In a national emergency involving an attack on
    the US.
  • -- troop deployment must end within 60 days
    unless authorized by Congress

Has the War Powers Resolution weakened
Presidential war power?
Executive Privilege
  • Right of presidents to keep executive
    communications secret
  • Precedent est. by Washington in 1792
  • WHY?

Challenges to Executive Privilege
  • US v. Nixon (1974)
  • USSC ruled that executive privilege was limited
    to matters involving national security
  • Nixon ordered to turn over tapes of oval office
    conversations relating to Watergate Scandal

Challenges to Executive Privilege
  • Bush-Cheney Administration refused to turn over
    documents relating to meetings between VP Cheney
    and energy industry executives
  • Federal court ruled that the process by which the
    president and advisors make decisions may be kept

Is this a good idea?
Executive Orders
  • Not mentioned in Constitution
  • Same effect as a law
  • Precedent set by Washington
  • Accepted by courts provided they dont conflict
    with Constitution or federal law
  • Can be reversed by subsequent presidents

Budget and Spending Power
  • Presidents Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
    prepares federal budget (to be approved by
  • Impoundment
  • Decision by president not to spend money
    appropriated by Congress

Limiting the Presidents Budget and Spending Power
  • Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act
    of 1974
  • Limited presidential impoundment power
  • Created Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to
    compete with presidents OMB

Line Item Veto
  • Approved by Congress in 1996
  • Allowed President to veto parts of spending bills
  • Stuck down by USSC

Executive Office of the President
  • Advisors to the president who are not cabinet
  • Office of Management and Budget, Council of
    Economic advisors, etc.

  • The presidents cabinet is made up of the heads
    of the executive departments.
  • Each of them is in charge of his/her department
    but answers to the president.

Vice President
  • The VPs constitutional duties are limited.
  • Therefore, the VPs significance varies from
    president to president.

The President and Congress
  • The Presidents influence with Congress is a
    major source of his power.
  • His influence varies significantly according to
  • Electoral mandate (or lack thereof)
  • Public approval
  • Party in control of Congress

Presidential Approval Ratings
Other Factors Influencing Presidential Influence
  • Cycle of Decreasing Influence
  • Tendency of president to lose support over time
  • Cycle of Increasing Effectiveness
  • Tendency of presidents to learn over time

Ranking the Presidents
What makes a president great? What makes a
president a failure?
The Federal Bureaucracy
  • Four types of bureaucratic agencies
  • Departments
  • Largest, highest ranking, run by cabinet officers
  • Independent agencies
  • Smaller, independent of both President and
  • Independent regulatory commissions
  • Independence protected by law, regulatory power
  • Government corporations
  • Make money on their own

Regulating Civil Service/Bureaucracy
  • Hatch Act (1939)
  • Prohibited federal bureaucrats from participating
    in partisan political activities (outside of
  • Overhauled, partially repealed in 1993

Executing the LawsFederal Regulations
  • Regulation
  • A rule designed to convert a law into action
  • Enforced by departments or agencies of the
    federal bureaucracy

Making Regulations
  • All federal regulations are based in some way on
  • Administrative Procedure Act (1946)
  • Requires proposed rules be published in Federal
  • notice and comment period allows affected
    citizens/groups/companies to make opinions known

Spending Money
  • The Federal Bureaucracy spends much of the money
    appropriated by Congress.
  • A significant portion of this is uncontrollable
    spending on entitlement programs
  • Entitlement programs provide financial benefits
    to all eligible citizens
  • Social Security, Medicare
  • These benefits are often indexed to inflation,
    which means they increase automatically

  • Monitoring the activities of the federal
    bureaucracy/executive agencies
  • The job of Congress and the executive branch
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