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Political Science 1101 Presidency Notes

Political Science 1101 Presidency Notes - The Presidency...

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The Presidency The Presidency and the Constitution - One of the primary problems that occupied the Framers was how much power could they safely cede to the office of the presidency. o Had just fought the Revolutionary War and left the rule of a monarch. Giving a chief executive certain authority in certain situations (attack, external threat, etc) can offer lower transaction cost (i.e. quicker decision making; not having to wait on legislative branch) - Presidential authority: o Offered the nation efficiency and decisiveness (lower transactions costs) o Also posed the threat of tyranny if the president is given too much power The Resolution of the Problem - To resolve the problem they…. o Withheld nonessential authority from the office; can’t pass legislation without Congress, can’t declare war without Congress, general checks and balances o And included legislative checks on executive prerogatives - The president’s constitutional powers do not add up to the forceful character of the modern presidency. o President has a slight edge over Congress in defensive affairs, but Congress still has an edge on the president for domestic affairs - Congress has power of the purse, so it’s almost impossible for President to get anything done domestically. The Modern Presidency - Began with FDR; relatively weak until then - Sources of Power: o Congressional Delegation (line-item veto; Empowerment Act 1974); Congress cedes some power to President o Presidential Assertions (Louisiana Purchase); President pushes to get more powers that aren’t specifically stated in Constitution - Formal vs. Informal Powers o The Power to Persuade is informal power, most important power the President has (can set agenda for Congress and persuade Congress to act on issues important to him) o Constitutional power is formal Chief Executive - President charged with faithfully executing laws passed by Congress (Implementing Policy, also the power to make policy) o Important because how you set up a program has significant impact - As chief executive, President is head of the federal bureaucracy o Appointment Power Cabinet Secretaries- example of common patronage appointment Patronage is still used, jobs given to friends and political allies. Heads of dept. and cabinet jobs are based on partisanship. Civil jobs are based on merit. - Executive Privilege o President’s right to withhold information from the other two branches. No mention of it in the Constitution, but it is now a guaranteed right (was made so by Presidential assertion NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT) Executive Orders
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- These are formal instructions from the president to bureaucratic agencies which have the force of law o Used to shape policy implementation o Truman issued desegregation of armed forces in 1947 o Executive orders are not written in Constitution o Ways to get rid of executive order: Congress can pass a new law which can supersede executive order Or President can rescind executive order (other presidents than the issuing one) Chief Legislator/Lobbyist -
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