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An introduction to the presidential and congressional powers

Presidential Powers The office of President of the United States is one of the most powerful in the world. The president, the Constitution says, must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Legislative Powers Despite the Constitutional provision that "all legislative powers" shall be vested in the Congress, the president, as the chief formulator of public policy, has a major legislative role.

Rivals for Power

The president can veto any bill passed by Congress and, unless two-thirds in each house vote to override the veto, the bill does not become law. Much of the legislation dealt with by Congress is drafted at the initiative of the executive branch. In an annual and special messages to Congress, the president may propose legislation he or she believes is necessary.

If Congress should adjourn without acting on those proposals, the president has the power to call it into special session. But, beyond all this, the president, as head of a political party and as principal executive officer of the U. To improve their working relationships with Congress, presidents in recent years have set up a Congressional Liaison Office in the White House.

Presidential aides keep abreast of all important legislative activities and try to persuade senators and representatives of both parties to support administration policies.

Presidential-Congressional Relations, Sixth Edition

Judicial Powers Among the president's constitutional powers is that of appointing important public officials; presidential nomination of federal judges, including members of the Supreme Court, is subject to confirmation by the Senate. Another significant power is that of granting a full or conditional pardon to anyone convicted of breaking a federal law -- except in a case of impeachment. The pardoning power has come to embrace the power to shorten prison terms and reduce fines. Executive Powers Within the executive branch itself, the president has broad powers to manage national affairs and the workings of the federal government.

The president can issue rules, regulations and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies.

  • The president may also negotiate "executive agreements" with foreign powers that are not subject to Senate confirmation;
  • He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years....

As commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States, the president may also call into federal service the state units of the National Guard. In times of war or national emergency, the Congress may grant the president even broader powers to manage the national economy and protect the security of the United States.

The president chooses the heads of all executive departments and agencies, together with hundreds of other high-ranking federal officials. The large majority of federal workers, however, are selected through the Civil Service system, in which appointment and promotion are based on ability an introduction to the presidential and congressional powers experience.

Powers In Foreign Affairs Under the Constitution, the president is the federal official primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations. Presidents appoint ambassadors, ministers and consuls -- subject to confirmation by the Senate -- and receive foreign ambassadors and other public officials.

With the secretary of state, the president manages all official contacts with foreign governments. On occasion, the president may personally participate in summit conferences where chiefs of state meet for direct consultation.

Roosevelt conferred with Allied leaders at sea, in Africa and in Asia during World War II; and every president since Roosevelt has met with world statesmen to discuss economic and political issues, and to reach bilateral and multilateral agreements. Through the Department of State, the president is responsible for the protection of Americans abroad and of foreign nationals in the United States.

Presidents decide whether to recognize new nations and new governments, and negotiate treaties with other nations, which are binding on the United States when approved by two-thirds of the Senate.

  1. In the election of 1800, however, the constitutional system for electing presidents broke down, as both Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same number of electoral votes.
  2. Although implicitly granted authority by Congress, Lincoln used his powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, "as a necessary war measure" as the basis of the proclamation.
  3. Complete List of Vice Presidents Introduction Holding the least understood, most ridiculed, and most often ignored constitutional office in the federal government, American vice presidents have included some remarkable individuals.

The president may also negotiate "executive agreements" with foreign powers that are not subject to Senate confirmation.