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POLSC332: The Presidency and the Executive Branch

Unit 5: The Executive Branch and the Bureaucracy   As head of the executive branch, the president is constitutionally responsible for executing the laws passed by Congress. The president does this by controlling the executive branch, a series of agencies built to carry out the laws. The agencies have varying levels of independence from the president; the president’s cabinet, for example, answers directly to the president. Each cabinet agency is headed by a secretary that the president appoints and can fire at will. These agencies are for carrying out the laws and for helping the president accomplish his or her agenda. Other agencies within the bureaucracy are more independent and are not under such direct control.

First you will learn about the president’s ability to act as chief executive. In this role, he or she is capable of influencing the shape of law by issuing executive orders and signing statements. You will then learn about the other key figures within the executive branch: the vice president, the cabinet, the Executive Office of the President, White House staff, and the executive bureaucracy (various agencies of the executive branch).

Unit 5 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: Completing this unit should take approximately 20 hours.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.5: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.6: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.7: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.8: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.9: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.10: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 5.11: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.12: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.13: 30 minutes

☐    Subunit 5.14: 1.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- discuss executive orders and why they are important for executive power; - discuss signing statements and why they are important for executive power; - describe the vice presidential powers and how this role has changed over time; - analyze the historical development of the presidential cabinet; - analyze the different cabinet departments and what role they play in the federal government; - explain the various components and functions of the Executive Office of the President; - discuss the role of the Office of Management and Budget; - explain the process of regulation development and implementation; - describe some of the key executive branch regulatory agencies; - discuss the executive rule-making process and politics; and - explain the nature and function of a government corporation.

5.1 The President as Chief Executive: Executive Orders   - Reading: Princeton University Press: Kenneth R. Mayer’s With the Stroke of a Pen: “Chapter 1: Why are Executive Orders Important?” Link: Princeton University Press: Kenneth R. Mayer’s With the Stroke of a Pen: “Chapter 1: Why are Executive Orders Important?” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read this article about executive orders.
Issuing executive orders is one of the broadest powers instilled in
the chief executive. It is therefore essential to understand the
breadth of those powers, as well as the constraints upon it.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 2
hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.2 The President as Chief Executive: Signing Statements   - Reading: Chris Salzberg’s “A Sign of the Times: Signing Statements and Executive Power” Link: Chris Salzberg’s “A Sign of the Times: Signing Statements and Executive Power” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this article on the presidential signing
statements.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately
30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Foreign Policy in Focus: Daniel Smith’s "Putting the President in His Place" Foreign Policy in Focus: Daniel Smith’s "Putting the President in His Place"

    Link: Foreign Policy in Focus: Daniel Smith’s “Putting the President in His Place” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please read the entire above article.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. It is attributed to Daniel Smith and the Institute for Policy Studies, and the original version can be found here.

  • Reading: The Public Record: Jeffrey Kaye’s “Thwarting Congressional Oversight Via Presidential Signing Statements” Link: The Public Record: Jeffrey Kaye’s “Thwarting Congressional Oversight Via Presidential Signing Statements” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the entire above article on the use of signing statements to prevent some types of congressional oversight.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.3 The Vice President   - Reading: The United States Senate: “Vice President of the United States” Link: The United States Senate: “Vice President of the United States” (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read the entire account of the history of the
vice presidency linked here.  

 The vice president is constitutionally the president of the Senate.
The Senate’s account provides an explanation of the origins and
duties of the vice presidential office, as well as the evolution of
the office from its founding to the modern vice presidency.  

 Reading these selections and taking notes should take approximately
1 hour and 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.
  • Reading: Congressional Research Service: Harold C. Relyea’s “The Vice Presidency: Evolution of the Modern Office, 1933 - 2001” Link: Congressional Research Service: Harold C. Relyea’s “The Vice Presidency: Evolution of the Modern Office, 1933 - 2001” (PDF)

    Instructions: This CRS report documents the evolution of the vice presidency that we know today, beginning during the New Deal Era.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

5.4 The Cabinet   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Cabinet, Topic 1: The Origin of the Cabinet” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Cabinet, Topic 1: The Origin of the Cabinet”(Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” and view the entire slideshow presentation for “Topic 1:
The Origin of the Cabinet.” You may also want to click on the “Text”
tab to read about what is being presented. Also, click on the
thumbnail under “Explore” to read associated content.  

 Watching this presentation, reading, and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson25/lessonp.html).
  • Reading: US Department of State: Outline of US Government: "The Executive Branch: Powers of the President" Link: US Department of State: Outline of US Government: “The Executive Branch: Powers of the Presidency” (PDF)

    Instructions: While reading this article, pay particular attention to the second half of the reading, which describes the purview of the different federal departments.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: This reading is in the public domain.

5.5 The Modern Cabinet   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Cabinet, Topic 2: The Modern Cabinet” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Cabinet, Topic 2: The Modern Cabinet”(Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” then click “Topic 2: The Modern Cabinet” at the top of the
webpage, and view the entire slideshow presentation. You may also
want to click on the “Text” tab to read about what is being
presented. Also, click on any thumbnails under “Explore” to read
about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson25/lessonp.html).

5.6 The Cabinet in Practice   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Cabinet, Topic 3: The Cabinet in Practice” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Cabinet, Topic 3: The Cabinet in Practice” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” click “Topic 3: The Cabinet in Practice” at the top of the
webpage, and view the entire slideshow presentation. You may also
want to click on the “Text” tab to read about what is being
presented. Also, click on any thumbnails under “Explore” to read
about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson25/lessonp.html).

5.7 Executive Office of the President   - Reading: The White House: “Executive Office of the President” Link: The White House: “Executive Office of the President” (PDF)

 Instructions: In this resource, you can see all the offices that
are considered part of the Executive Office of the President. To
further enhance your reading, feel free to visit the individual
departments’ websites within the EOP by clicking on the hyperlinks
on the webpage.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 1
hour.  

 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.
  • Reading: Congressional Research Service: Harold C. Relyea’s “The Executive Office of the President: An Historical Overview” Link: Congressional Research Service: Harold C. Relyea’s “The Executive Office of the President: An Historical Overview” (PDF)

    Instructions: Please download the CRS report titled “The Executive Office of the President: An Historical Overview.” Read this entire document (32 pages).

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

  • Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “White House, Topic 1: Executive Offices and Staff” The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “White House, Topic 1: Executive Offices and Staff” (Adobe Flash)

    Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start Lesson,” and view the entire slideshow presentation for “Topic 1: Executive Offices and Staff.” You may also want to click on the “Text” tab to read about what is being presented. Also, click on any thumbnails under “Explore” to read about associated content.

    Watching this presentation and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the original version can be found here.

5.8 Executive Branch Agencies: The Office of Management and Budget   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Budget, Topic 1: The Office of Management and Budget” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Budget, Topic 1: The Office of Management and Budget” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” and view the entire slideshow presentation for “Topic 1:
The Office of Management and Budget.” You may also want to click on
the “Text” tab to read about what is being presented. Also, click on
any thumbnails under “Explore” to read about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson23/lessonp.html).

5.9 Executive Branch Agencies: Regulatory Agencies   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Other Bureaucratic Bodies, Topic 1: Regulatory Agencies” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Other Bureaucratic Bodies, Topic 1: Regulatory Agencies” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” and view the entire slideshow presentation for “Topic 1:
Regulatory Agencies.” You may also want to click on the “Text” tab
to read about what is being presented. Also, click on any thumbnails
under “Explore” to read about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson26/lessonp.html).

5.10 The Rulemaking Process   - Reading: Congressional Research Service: Curtis W. Copeland’s “The Federal Rulemaking Process: An Overview” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

[Submit Materials](/contribute/)
  • Web Media: YouTube: W. W. Norton: “Susan Webb Yackee on Bureaucracy and Rule-Making” Link: YouTube: W. W. Norton: “Susan Webb Yackee on Bureaucracy and Rule-Making” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please listen to Dr. Yackee’s discussion of the bureaucracy and rule-making. An under-appreciated duty of the executive branch is the rule-making process. Once Congress passes a statute, the responsibility falls to the executive branch to figure out how the law will take effect. This means the executive branch gets to create the specifics about how a bill will be enforced. In this web lecture, Dr. Yackee discusses this aspect of the bureaucracy. Dr. Yackee is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

    Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Web Media: University of Virginia’s Miller Center: “The Politics of Agency Rulemaking” Link: University of Virginia’s Miller Center: Rachel A. Potter and Charles R. Shipan’s “The Politics of Agency Rulemaking” (Adobe Flash)

    Instructions: Please click on the relevant video and watch the first section.

    Watching the video and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.11 Government Corporations   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Other Bureaucratic Bodies, Topic 2: Government Corporations” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Other Bureaucratic Bodies, Topic 2: Government Corporations” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” choose “Topic 2: Government Corporations” at the top of the
webpage, and view the entire slideshow presentation. You may also
want to click on the “Text” tab to read about what is being
presented. Also, click on any thumbnails under “Explore” to read
about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson26/lessonp.html).

5.12 The Executive Bureaucracy   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Nature of the Bureaucracy, Topic 2: Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Nature of the Bureaucracy, Topic 2: Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” choose “Topic 2: Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy”
at the top of the webpage, and view the entire slideshow
presentation. You may also want to click on the “Text” tab to read
about what is being presented. Also, click on any thumbnails under
“Explore” to read about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson24/lessonp.html).

5.13 Bureaucratic Reform   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Nature of the Bureaucracy, Topic 3: Bureaucratic Reform” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “The Nature of the Bureaucracy, Topic 3: Bureaucratic Reform” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” choose “Topic 3: Bureaucratic Reform,” and view the entire
slideshow presentation. You may also want to click on the “Text” tab
to read about what is being presented. Also, click on any thumbnails
under “Explore” to read about associated content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson24/lessonp.html).

5.14 Checks on the Bureaucracy: Legislative and Executive Constraints   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Checks on the Bureaucracy, Topic 1: Legislative and Executive Constraints” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Checks on the Bureaucracy, Topic 1: Legislative and Executive Constraints” (Adobe Flash)

 Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start
Lesson,” and view the entire slideshow presentation for “Topic 1:
Legislative and Executive Constraints.” You may also want to click
on the “Text” tab to read about what is being presented. Also, click
on any thumbnails under “Explore” to read about associated
content.  

 Watching this presentation and taking notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). It is
attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the
original version can be found
[here](http://uccpbank.k12hsn.org/courses/AmericanGovernment/course%20files/multimedia/lesson27/lessonp.html).
  • Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Checks on the Bureaucracy, Topic 2: Congressional and Judicial Constraints” Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Checks on the Bureaucracy, Topic 2: Congressional and Judicial Constraints” (Adobe Flash)

    Instructions: Please click on the above link, select “Start Lesson,” choose “Topic 2: Congressional and Judicial Constraints” at the top of the webpage, and view the entire slideshow presentation. You may also want to click on the “Text” tab to read about what is being presented. Also, click on any thumbnails under “Explore” to read about associated content.

    Watching this presentation and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the original version can be found here.

  • Reading: YouTube: W. W. Norton: “Dr. David Lewis on Executive Branch Structure and Policy-making” Link: YouTube: W. W. Norton: “Dr. David Lewis on Executive Branch Structure and Policy-making” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please click on the above link, and watch Dr. Lewis’s discussion of the executive branch.

    Now that you have an understanding of how the bureaucracy fits into the political system, please consider Dr. Lewis’s talk about the presidential attempts to control the bureaucracy and how Congress makes such control difficult. Dr. David Lewis is affiliated with Vanderbilt University.

    Watching this lecture and note-taking should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.