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The President and Federal Departments

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The President of the United State is elected every four years to a four years term of office, with no more than two full terms allowed. As is true with Senators and Representatives, The president is elected directly by the voters (through state electors). In other words, the political party with the most Senators and Representatives does not choose the President. This means that the President can be from one party, and the majority of those in House of Representatives or Senate (or both) from another. This is not uncommon.

Thus, although one of the parties may a majority in the midterm

Elections (those held every two years), the President remains President remains President, even though his party may not have a majority in either house. Such a result could easily hurt his ability to get legislation through Congress, which must pass all laws, but this is not necessarily so. In any case, the President’s policies must be approved by the House of Representative and the Senate before they can become law. In domestic as well as in foreign policy, the President can seldom count upon the automatic support of Congress, even when his own party has a majority in both the Senate and the House. Therefore, he must be able to convince Congressmen, the Representatives and Senators, of his point of view. He must bargain and compromise. This is a major difference between the American system and those in which the nation’s leader represents the majority party or parties, that is parliamentary system.

Within the Executive Branch, there are a number of executive departments. Currently these are the departments of State, Treasury, Defence, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labour, Health and Human Resources, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Education. Each department is established by law, and, as their names indicate, each is responsible for a specific area. The head of each departments is appointed by the President. These appointments, however, must be approved by the Senate. None of these Secretaries, as the department heads are usually called can also be serving in Congress or in another part of the government. Each is directly responsible to the President and only serves as long as the President wants him or her to. They can best be seen, therefore, as Presidential assistants and advisers. When they meet together, they are termed «the President’s Cabinet». Some Presidents have relied quite a bit on their Cabinets for advice, and some very little.


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