Unit-2-Review-Packet.docx - AP U.S. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS...

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AP U.S. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICSUnit 2- Interactions Between Branches – Review PacketBecause power is widely distributed and checks prevent one branch from usurping powers from the others, institutionalactors are in the position where they must both compete and cooperate in order to govern.The three key institutions of the federal government are Congress, the presidency, and the courts. The bureaucracy,which implements policy, is seen by some as an extension of the executive branch and by others as, in effect, a fourthbranch of government because of the discretion it can exercise in carrying out policy directives. The Constitution grantsspecific powers to Congress, the president, and the courts, and in addition, each branch exercises informal powers(developed through political practice, tradition, and legislation). Because checks and balances are designed to preventone branch from becoming too powerful, Congress and the president, for example, will sometimes cooperate andsometimes compete in governance.The powers of Congress are set forth in Article I of the Constitution. Congress is bicameral, with the Senate representingstates and the House of Representatives reflecting each state’s population. Congress passes laws that cover a widerange of policy areas, and each chamber has different responsibilities and rules. The federal budget is a good example ofhow the president and Congress must cooperate and compromise. While Congress is empowered to develop and pass abudget, in the modern era the president typically proposes one, which may lead to ideological debate. There are severalreasons it is difficult for Congress to pass legislation, including ideological differences. Much of the work of Congress isdone in committees, and congressional committees also exercise oversight to ensure that the bureaucracy is carrying outpolicies as intended.The expressed powers of the president are set forth in Article II of the Constitution. The president has a significant degreeof informal power, which has grown over time. Under the Constitution, Congress checks the power of the president, andthis leads to tension between the two branches over both foreign and domestic affairs. The president and Congress haveseveral interrelated powers. For example, while Congress passes legislation, the president must sign it into law. Thepresident appoints judges and members of the cabinet, who must be confirmed by the Senate. The president alsooversees most of the bureaucracy. Technology has impacted the president’s use of the “bully pulpit” to influence publicopinion. In addition to reaching out to the public through televised press conferences and the State of the Union message,the president is increasingly making use of social media to communicate views to a vast audience.

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Supreme Court of the United States, President of the United States, United States Congress

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