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Presidency

I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed. Harry S. Truman

Objectives
Explain the features that distinguish presidential from parliamentary systems. Describe the five principal roles of the president as laid out in the Constitution, new roles not found in the Constitution, and the reasons these roles have changed over time. Describe the staff support that allows the president to manage and fulfill the responsibilities of his role. List the formal qualifications to be President. Describe the presidents primary goals and strategies the president employs to achieve these goals.

The Vice President

Does the VP matter? Or is it just the most fun job in Washington?

The Vice President


Up to 1949, the Vice President presided over the Senate making decisions that controlled debate. - Since the 1870s no VP has cast more than 10 tie breaking votes. 14 former vice presidents became President Party leaders used to make vice-presidential selections to balance the ticket, often choosing someone from a different party faction who was not personally close to the presidential nominee. In fact, Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Herbert Hoover protested the individuals selected to be their running mates.

Job Descriptions

Presidents Power
1. Authority included in the Constitution
Remember the Take-Care Clause

2. Powers developed overtime through precedent and practice


Budget and Accountability Act of 1921 War Powers Resolution of 1973

3. Modern Presidency
FDR started the process, but 1972 is the beginning.

Theories of Presidential Power

Framers and the Presidency


The Framers intentionally designed the presidency to allow its occupant to rise to demands for quick and concerted action during times of national crisis. Created a focal point for coordinating collective action.

President best situated to propose a coordinated response.

Framers and the Presidency


Framers rejected a plural executive: The executive would thus contain none of the internal checks provided by competition for influence among its members. Instead, they gave the executive enough resources for coordinating national responses during emergencies but insufficient authority to usurp the Constitution. Two presidencies: Leadership gravitates toward the office during moments of national urgency. But it does not involve suspension of the constitutional prerogatives that belong to the other institutions, and it dissipates as the crisis recedes.

The President and the Constitution


Presidents duties/authority found in ARTICLE II Commander in chief. Chief diplomat. Executive. Legislator. Constitutional powers ambiguous and limited, yet president is considered quite powerful. Most of the presidents day-to-day business is based on authority derived exclusively from public laws in which Congress delegates some particular, and generally carefully stated, responsibility or discretion to the chief executive.

The President and the Constitution


No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

President As Commander in Chief and Head of State


The Constitution: president is commander in chief of the nations armed forces. Founders had some difficulty giving one individual control over the military. Checked the presidents powers by making it so ONLY CONGRESS can declare war.

President As Commander in Chief and Head of State


Idea that presidents have the military at their disposal (at least in the short run) remains unchallenged.
First-mover advantage.

Congresss check is a hollow one.


War Powers Act of 1973. Requires that the president inform Congress within fortyeight hours of committing troops abroad in a military action. Moreover, the operation must end within sixty days unless Congress approves an extension.

The President As Head of State


The Framers provided broad authority to transact diplomatic affairs. Lesson from the Articles of Confederation.

Washington interpreted the provision to receive Ambassadors, to mean that he alone had the authority to recognize new governments and receive its ministers.
Truman recognized the state of Israel.

President As Head of State

The most important limitation on the presidents leadership in foreign affairs is the requirement that a two-thirds majority of the Senate ratify treaties. Rejected WWI peace treaty. Wilsons League of Nations. Not as limiting a check today due to the use of executive agreements.

Executive Agreements

Unlike a treaty, an executive agreement cannot supersede U.S. law, and it remains in force as long as the parties find their interests well served by it. President Lyndon Johnson created a number of executive agreements giving foreign aid funds to countries that kept token forces in Vietnam.

Executive Agreements

These agreements, rather than treaties, are the mainstay of our international relations. Congress can make laws that remove them and the courts may judge them to be in violation of the Constitution.

Executive Orders
Until the twentieth century, presidents found themselves illequipped to intrude upon administrative practices. Congress exercised oversight of the bureaucracy, assigning its committees jurisdictions that matched those of the federal departments.

Presidents stayed in the background and attempted to influence policy through political appointees to the bureaucracy or through the issuance of executive orders.

The President as a Legislator


The Constitution gives presidents only a modest role in the legislative arena.

May call Congress into special session.


Veto laws (Article I).

Must report from time to time to Congress with State of the Union address.
Yet modern presidents attempt to direct American policy by promoting a legislative agenda. They must use their few constitutional tools as well as their ability to mobilize public support and their PARTY.

The President as a Legislator


Until the twentieth century, presidents routinely delivered their State of the Union to Congress via courier, where it was read to an inattentive audience. Today it is a prime-time opportunity for presidents to mold public opinion and steer the legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. What are some of the things the president does during the State of the Union?

Stage and punctuate presentation with props and the introduction of American heroes.

The President as a Legislator


Perhaps the presidents most formidable tool in dealing with Congress is the veto. Constitution defines the veto precisely. Used relatively rarely -- most used by Gerald Ford. In the past fifty years, the average is fewer than ten vetoes a year. The veto allows the president to block congressional action but does not allow the president to substitute his own policy preferences.

The Nineteenth Century President


During the republics first century, presidents typically assumed a small role, thus in step with the Framers expectations. They did not play a leadership role in domestic policy formulation. Thus their accomplishments were limited to their responses to wars, rebellions, or other national crises. A clerk and a commander.

The Era of Cabinet Government


Department secretaries played an important role during this period. When a president had a question about a policy, needed clarification on complaints, or needed advice on whether to sign or veto a bill he consulted his cabinet. The relationship between a president and his cabinet at this time was one of reciprocity, not loyalty. Cabinet members helped the president achieve his political goals and, through the cabinet appointment, he gave them opportunities to pursue theirs.

The Modern Cabinet


The cabinet today has lost much of its luster as an attractive office; it only has limited political clout. Control over policy and even of department personnel has gravitated to the White House. Cabinet tenure today is not a stepping stone to a more powerful political position but rather a suitable conclusion to a career in public service.

The Modern Presidency


As the obligations of government grew, oversight of the executive began to tax Congresss time and resources and its ability to do its work. Congress found its own interests served by delegating to the White House a sizable share of administrative duties and the policy discretion that went with it. - Because the same party generally controlled these branches, it made it easier for Congress to transfer authority to the executive. - Often no practical alternative.

Delegation
When members of Congress write public laws, they can decide to delegate a little or a lot of rulemaking authority to the president. At times Congress delegates less from programmatic necessity than to gain political advantage. When would they do this? When they agree on the goals of a bill but disagree on its specifics. Thus they make the language vague and the executive branch has great leeway in how it implements the law. Example: Congress delegated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discretion to establish rules for classifying species as endangered and threatened.

Delegation
As attractive as delegation may be, it always has costs associated with it. One must monitor agents performance to ensure that they are vigorously pursuing the tasks delegated. Monitoring is difficult and costly: Fire Alarms, not Police Patrols. Agents may shift policy in an undesirable direction. When that agent is the president, it is difficult to fire the agent. Difficult to rein in a president as well, given the veto.

Budgeting
The formulation and presentation of the annual budget to Congress is one of the presidents most important clerical tasks. Offers presidents an opportunity to set the spending priorities of the federal government. Authority comes from the delegation of duty from Congress -- 1921 Budgeting and Accounting Act.

Until the 1920s, agencies sent their budget requests directly to House Appropriations.

Budgeting
The presidents annual budget, submitted to Congress on the first Monday in February, takes months of work. Assembling and negotiating requests from agencies. Bringing them into conformity with White House policy goals. Sometimes it sails through; other years replaced with congressional budget. Provides Congress with valuable information. Represents the presidents opening bid on how much will be spent for what and where the money will come from.

Presidential Assertions of Authority


Presidents have also tried to pull authority into the White House. Unilateral assertions of authority. Or by centralizing administration. Rerouting the flow of information within the executive branch or between it and Congress. Theodore Roosevelt: Issued an executive order (1902) prohibiting all federal employees from communicating with Congress either directly or indirectly, individually or through associations or to attempt to influence in their own interest any other legislation.

Presidential Assertions of Authority

President Reagan issued an executive order in 1980 instructing all federal agencies to submit any new regulations or rules to OMB for a cost-benefit analysis. Impact: curbed the number of new rules. After Congress responded negatively, the clearance process was relaxed and Congress agreed it would withhold legislative action. Overall, presidents can pull in authority, but they cannot overreach.

Modern Presidents as Legislators


Today, Congress gives the presidents legislative proposals serious consideration. Lawmakers expect the president to advise them about problems with current policy and administration and to recommend adjustments to improve performance. Because of the presidents role administering the laws, a major role in the legislative process is ensured. 90 percent of presidents initiatives are considered by some congressional committee or subcommittee.

Working with Partisan Allies


In assembling support for their legislation, presidents begin with their party allies in Congress. They cultivate this support by: Advocating spending on programs and public works for a district or state. Appointing a members congressional aide as an agency head. Visiting a lawmakers district to generate support for the next reelection campaign. These fellow partisans do what they can to support their leader.

Working with Partisan Allies


Incentives for partisans in Congress and the White House are powerful. During George W. Bushs first year in office, his fellow Republicans in the House supported him 86 percent of the time, and in the Senate 94 percent of the time. Opposition partisans lack incentives to cooperate with the president. They have a stake in defeating his administration, not helping it carry out policy objectives.

Unified versus Divided Control of Government


When presidents find their party in majority control of the House and Senate, they have excellent prospects for passing their legislative agenda. Examples: New Deal and Great Society. However, during divided government (when the presidents opposition party controls either or both legislative chambers), the president confronts majorities with different preferences.

Unified versus Divided Control of Government


During the past half century, unified party control has occurred less frequently than divided government. How do presidents deal with this situation? Pull decisions into the White House. Carefully screen appointees to federal agencies. Utilize the veto. Go public (engage in intensive public relations to promote their policies to voters). Republicans gained control of Congress in the 2002 midterm elections, restoring unified party control of government, which continued into the 109th Congress.

Veto Bargaining
The veto offers presidents a clear, self-enforcing means of asserting their preferences. The threat of a veto is a potent one as well. Presidents can use the threat to manipulate Congresss expectations about the likely result of alternative legislative packages, thereby inserting his policy preferences into legislation at an early stage of the process.

Reagan: Make my day.

Going Public

Presidents and members of Congress share constituencies. If the president can win the publics backing for himself and his policies, opponents in Congress may shrink from a fight because they do not want to offend voters. Bully pulpit.
How can a president go public? Clinton on health care. Bush on Social Security.

The Institutional Presidency


As an organization the presidency began modestly. Washington used his secretary of state, Jefferson, to help him with correspondence. By the early 1800s the number of staff working in and around the White House was less than a dozen.

When FDR became president there were about fifty staff members. (Maintenance, switchboard, and mailroom duties.)
In 1937 the Presidents Committee on Administrative Management (Brownlow Committee) concluded that the president needs help. Much like a CEO of a business, the president found himself in need of the tools to carry out the business of the nation.

Executive Office of the Presidency

Typically, the agencies that make up the modern EOP work much more closely with the president and the White House staff than they do with each other. Perform classic staff functions: Gather information. Help maintain the organization itself.

Office of Management and Budget


It is responsible for: 1. Creation of the annual federal budget. 2. Monitoring agency performance. 3. Compiling recommendations from the departments on enrolled bills (bills that have been passed in identical form in both chambers of Congress). 4. Administering central clearance.

National Security Council


Its statutory responsibility appears modest: To compile reports and advice from the State and Defense Departments and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to keep the president well informed on international affairs. Yet the national security advisor, who heads this presidential agency, has at times assumed a role in conducting foreign policy that is close to that traditionally associated with the secretary of state.

A Unilateral President?
What does this mean? President moves first, forces Congress and the Courts to react. Utilizes ambiguities in the Constitution. Executive Orders Executive Agreements Vetoes Signing Statements Recess Appointments

A Unilateral President?
Positives Can be beneficial for Congress (ex: military base closings). President can move faster, work more efficiently due to the lower transaction costs. Say one needed to end the corrupt trade federations embargo of their home planet and was frustrated by bureaucratic delays. A unilateral executive could deal with such a situation quickly and efficiently.

A Unilateral President?
Negatives Power can be abused and is very difficult to get back.

It becomes difficult to get out of wars, to respond to executive orders or agreements or to reign in the usage of recess appointments or signing statements.
In short, one day youre giving the administration the ability to respond to the struggling economy and the next thing you know, theyre blowing up Alderaan.