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Executive Branch

edited from original by Megan DesMadryl

Elizabeth C.

on 15 July 2015

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Transcript of Executive Branch

Constitutional Requirements for Becoming President
Terms of the President
What powers does the Constitution delegate to the President?
The Cabinet
The Pathway to Presidency
Begins with Exploratory Committee
Happens in the Summer of 2015
Federal Elections Committee defines Exploratory Committees as organizations that support a candidate who is considering a run for office.
What do they do?
Explore options to becoming president
Check finances for running
Look at support base to determine how they would do (polling)
If all looks good-> "Throw their hat in the ring" to announce they are running
President may serve two 4- year terms
Constitution originally had no limit to terms
Franklin D, Roosevelt elected to fourth term (1945)
22nd Amendment
1951: limiting terms of president
Lame duck phenomenon

Paid a compensation that cannot be increased/decreased during term
2001: Clinton signed legislation that set salary at 400k
Expense Account: 50k
Travel Account: 100k
Entertainment: 19k
Other perks: live in the white house, health care, lifetime pension, secret service, airforce one.
Must be a natural born citizen of the United States.
What is the Cabinet?
Group of departments led by secretaries and other officials acting as advisers to the president.
Can be dismissed without Congressional approval
**You may be born in a foreign country if it is on U.S. embassy and military bases.
**Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories count as a continuation of the United States.
Who Makes up the Cabinet?
Head of 15 executive departments along with the VP, director of the OMB, White House Chief of Staff, and Chief Domestic Policy Adviser
Four Executive Positions
Secretary of State
Secretary of Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney general
The Obama Cabinet
Military Power
Serve as commander in chief of all U.S. armed forces (Recall: Congress authorizes $ of military, not the president)
Commission officers of the armed forces

Diplomatic Powers
Chief negotiator with foreign nations
Make treaties (must be approved by 2/3 Senate Vote)
Executive agreements
pacts between heads of state, but don’t have formal status of treaties
Routine matters, dozens made each year
Ex: Destroyer-for-bases
Recognize foreign governments
Must be at least 35 years old.
President Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man to assume office following William McKinley's assasination. He was 42 years, 322 days old on the day of his inauguration.
Must be a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.
Established 1787
Outlined in Article II of Constitution
Job = enforce laws
Benefits of the President
Presidential succession occurs:
25th amendment in 1967:
officially states VP succession in constitution
After the VP
Speaker of the House
Pro Tempore
members of cabinet beginning with Sec of State
If president and VP both vacant
Speaker and Pro Tempore respectively
When VP becomes president
He appoints a VP and congress approves
 VP may serve as acting president if
Pres states in writing he can't
Or VP and majority of congress decide president is incapacitated
If president is fine, but VP and cabinet disagree, congress has 21 days to decide before president can reclaim his powers


Begin in summer of '15 and end in November of '16
Debates can be within party, against opposing party
Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates
During the 1800s, Americans transformed presidential elections from the concerns of a limited elite into a massive expression of popular will.
Presidential elections are more than just contests to select officeholders.
Occasions when Americans can engage in a national dialogue.
Opportunity to examine the state of the country and express concerns often ignored by the news, media, and political institution
They are:
Evolved from the idea of the office seeking the man, to the man seeking the office
Washington and Letters
Campaign Examples
Jackson and Hickory Poles
Jackson supporters put up hickory poles across the country and sponsored local picnics, parades and BBQs.
Harrison and Log Cabin
The Whig Party's log cabin and hard cider candidate vs. Martin Van Buren
McKinley Front Porch Campaign
Truman Whistle Stop Campaign
Truman makes three hundred speeches to six million people during his 30,000 mile “whistle stop” train campaign
Eisenhower and Spot Ads
Kennedy and Nixon first Televised Debate
Over 100 million tune in
Clinton and MTV
Primaries and Caucuses
Held within your state and therefore state decides when (June '15-Nov '16)
Point: to see who has most support
voters meet in central location
debate among each other to get a majority vote for a candidate
Voters go to a polling place to case their vote
Three types of primaries
Open - any registered voter can vote
Closed - registered party members can vote but it has to be along their party lines
Semi-Closed - allow for independent to vote for their party
National Convention
Happens in the summer of '16
Use the results from the primaries and caucuses to announce their presidential candidate
often pick the VP candidate
Create their parties platform
foreign and domestic
General Election
Happens of the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November
Known as the popular vote
Every registered citizen can vote for one candidate (Both President and VP) of their choice. Party lines don't matter
National Election
The Electoral College
Founder sought balance between views of people (direct vote) and control by political leader (selection by congress)
Recall used to be House elected by people and Senate elected by legislatures
Alexander Hamilton suggested compromise:
Electoral College
President selected by special body of electors, none of whom could be members of congress

How Many are in the EC?
Chosen in each state
Number would equal total number of senators and reps the state had in congress
538 Electoral Votes
435 Reps
100 Senators
3 from District of Columbia (23rd Amendment)
To win presidency: Need 270 electoral votes
How does it work?
Even though the candidates names are on the ballot, you're voting for the electors, not the candidates directly.
Your vote = popular vote
Winner of the popular vote automatically wins electoral vote for their state
Except for Nebraska, Maine and Colorado who are proportional
Still confused?
Let's look at an example:
President Jones (Democrat) submits his list of 55 electoral voters for CA
President Smith (Republican) submits his list of 55 electoral voters for CA
Popular vote winner = Jones
President Jones wins the 55 Electoral Votes for CA
Remember: All or nothing vote!
Electors cast their vote at their state capital in December
•Electoral ballots are sealed and sent to president of the senate for a formal count
division is unfair
popular vote doesn't always win electoral vote!
Elected President
Votes counted in Congress
January 6th
President Elect
Picking their cabinet
Jan 20th
President at noon
20th amendment
Political Parties
Political Parties exist in some form in almost every country in the world
Def: A group of people organized to influence government through winning elections and setting public policy
What are they?
What Kinds Exist?
One-party system
one party exists or routinely controls the government (ex: USSR)
Two-party system
two major political parties
Multiparty system
many party exists (
common in countries with strong parliamentary systems and proportional representation

Roles of Political Parties
Recruiting and labeling
Watchdogs (of party in power)
Getting info out
Running the government
The single most reason the U.S has a two-party system is the winner-takes all electoral system
Parties in U.S. History
Federalist and Anti-Federalist
Hamilton led Federalists/Jefferson led Anti-Federalist
Who remembers why they formed?

Parties in U.S. History
The Anti-Federalists became the Democratic-Republicans (today's Democratic Party)
Supported states' rights and state banks
Parties in U.S. History
The Democratic-Republicans became the Democrats with Jackson as president
The Whigs arose in opposition to Democrats
Never states its purposes well
Internal problems split the party
Parties in U.S. History
Republicans rose from Whig Party
Anti-Slavery party with Abraham Lincoln as their candidate
Democrats lost influence from its association with the Southern states during the Civil War
The Republican Party became the dominant party in the second half of the 19th century
The Democratic Party regained support via the reform movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Executive Powers
Executive Orders
rules/regulation with the force of law
Appoint public officers and justices of the Supreme Court, with congressional approval
Created and removed by senate
Grant reprieves and pardons for federal crimes except in matters of impeachment
Legislative Powers
May call congress to special session to deal with important, immediate issues
State of the union address from “time to time”
By tradition soon after beginning of each congressional session
Veto power

Evolutionary Powers
Power of Economic Planning
Submits annual economic report to congress
Develop economic program to help country
Shape country’s monetary policy
Executive Privilege
Right to confidentiality and to refuse to testify
Not stated in constitution but practiced for over 200 years

Power of Impoundment
Refusal to spend money that Congress has appropriated
Budget Reform Act 1974 – has to spend unless he gets approval from congress delay
Seen as unconstitutional since it takes away ability to check power

Power of Persuasion
News releases and briefing
Press conference (build bipartisan support)
Photo ops and media
Sound bites
Backgrounders and leaks

The combination of people, procedures, and agencies through which the federal gov operates
Executive Office of the President
The White House Office
Closes personnel and staff (special assistant, press secretary)
West Wing
Gathering information, writing reports, giving advice, lobbying

Office of Management and Budget
Preparing the national budget the president proposes to congress each year
The National Security Council
Created by Harry Truman
President heads it
VP, Sec of State, and Sec of Defense are members
Advise president and help coordinate military and foreign policy
National Economic Council
Help president in role as chief economic planner
Major source of advice and information about the nations economy
Other Agencies
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Office of Policy Development
Office of US Trade Representative
Office of Science and Technology Policy
The Council on Environmental Quality
Office of the VP
Each executive department is headed by a secretary (or for Dept of Justice, the Attorney General
Followed by the undersecretaries, deputy undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries
Each have subunits

The 15 Departments (in line for succession) are:
 Department of State
 Department of the Treasury
 Department of Defense
 Department of Justice
 Department of the Interior
 Department of Agriculture
 Department of Commerce
 Department of Labor
 Department of Health and Human Services
 Department of Housing and Urban Development
 Department of Transportation
 Department of Energy
 Department of Education
 Department of Veterans Affairs
 Department of Homeland Security
Selection of the Cabinet
President selects, confirmed by majority of the senate (can't be member of congress)
Background and professional experience, political party, friends and acquaintances, region, race and gender all affect presidents decision
Roles of cabinet
Departmental Role – rally for their department
Selection and Role
Independent Agencies
What are they?
Don’t fit in purpose of existing cabinets
Some need to be protected from party politics (i.e. regulatory commissions)
There are around 150 independent agencies, which means not a cabinet dept
Three types of Independent Agencies
Independent Regulatory Commission
Protect the public interest
Cant be removed by president
Ex: National Labor Relations Board
Government Corporations
Businesses the gov runs
U.S. Postal Service, Amtrak
Independent Executive Agencies
Outside of cabinet dept, oversees one area
Full transcript