S. Anderson/Civics Executive Branch Notes from 12/15 Executive

S. Anderson/Civics
Executive Branch Notes from 12/15
Executive Branch
 Largest branch of the government
 Function – carry out/execute/enforce the laws passed by the legislative
branch (includes educating the public, catching lawbreakers, & taking
people to court)
 Major role is to keep the nation safe
Executive Branch Structure
 President – Barak Obama (Democrat)
 Vice-President – Joe Biden (Democrat)
 Departments (15)
 Independent agencies
 Government corporations
 Head of the executive branch
 Leader of his/her political party
 Commander in Chief of the Armed Services
 Defends & protects the Constitution
 Has the power to grant reprieves and pardons
 Has the power to make treaties, appoint ambassadors and Supreme
Court Justices, with the approval of the Senate
 Inform Congress of the State of the Union
 Power to sign or veto bills sent by Congress
Presidential Requirements, Terms & Succession
 35 years old on or before Inauguration Day
 Native-born citizen
 Resident of the U.S. for 14 years
 4-year term
 Cannot serve more than 2 elected 4-year terms or a total of 10
years (22nd Amendment – presidential term limits – because of FDR)
 Presidential Succession Act – If something happens to the
president, the vice-president is next in line, then the Speaker of
the House, and so on (see your packet page 6)
 Current Speaker of the House is Paul Ryan (Republican)
 Only Constitutional duty – president of the Senate
S. Anderson/Civics
Executive Branch Notes from 12/15
Leader of his/her political party
Prepares to take over for the president if it becomes necessary
Advises the president & helps carry out functions of the executive
 Each department led by a secretary (DOJ led by Attorney General)
appointed by the president & approved by the Senate
 All of the secretaries & Atty. Gen. make up the president’s cabinet
 The purpose of the cabinet is to advise the president
 There are many agencies within each department (example: the FBI and
the DEA are part of the DOJ)
 Biggest Department – Defense (Secretary of Defense – Ashton Carter)
Housed in the Pentagon
 Department that manages relationships with foreign countries - State
(Secretary of State – John Kerry)
 Newest Department – Homeland Security (Secretary of Homeland
Security – Jeh Johnson)
 Department in charge of enforcing federal law, preventing crime & the
court system – Justice (Attorney General – Loretta Lynch)
Independent Agencies
 Focus on specific issues (example: EPA)
 Different from departments because they are not controlled by the
 Controlled by a board or commission
 Enforce laws and make regulations
 Regulations – rules executive branch makes about how a law will be
carried out; powers similar to laws
 Law is passed by Congress with few details; Congress gives the agency
the power to decide those details (regulations)
 See chart example on packet page 2 regarding the Clean Air Act and the
Government Corporations
 Businesses the government owns
 Examples: AMTRAK and FDIC