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The chief executive of the United States is the president, who, together with the vice president, is elected to a four-year term. Under a Constitutional Amendment passed in 1951, a president can be elected to only two terms. Except for the right of succession to the presidency, the vice president's only Constitutional duties are to serve as the presiding officer of the Senate; the vice president may vote in the Senate only in the event of a tie.

The powers of the presidency are formidable, but not without limitations. The president, as the chief formulator of public policy, often proposes legislation to Congress. The president can also veto (forbid) any bill passed by Congress. The veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives. As head of his political party, with ready access to the news media, the president can easily influence public opinion regarding issues and legislation that he deems vital.

The president has the authority to appoint federal judges as vacancies occur, including members of the Supreme Court. All such court appointments are subject to confirmation by the Senate. He also is commander in chief of the armed forces.

The president appoints the heads and senior officials of the executive branch agencies; the large majority of federal workers, however, are selected through a non-political civil service system. The major departments of the government are headed by appointed secretaries who collectively make up the president's cabinet. Today these 13 departments are: State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and Education.

Under the Constitution, the president is primarily responsible for foreign relations with other nations. The president appoints ambassadors and other officials, subject to Senate approval, and, with the secretary of state, formulates and manages the nation's foreign policy. The president often represents the United States abroad in consultations with other heads of state, and, through his officials, he negotiates treaties with other countries. Such treaties must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Presidents also negotiate with other nations less formal "executive agreements" that are not subject to Senate approval.

The following qualifications for the presidency are established by the Constitution: The president must be a natural-born citizen of the U.S., 35 years of age or older, and “fourteen years a resident within the United States.” The official residence of the president is the White House in Washington, D.C.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 812

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