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Executive Branch

The executive branch of government – as its name implies – is responsible for executing (implementing) the programs that Congress (the legislative branch) has authorized. The executive branch is led by the president at the national level (governors at the state level). The president cannot execute all these programs by himself (some day – herself). The president appoints others to assist in this enormous task. The immediate subordinates of the president are the members of the president’s cabinet; offices such as the secretary of treasury, secretary of state, secretary of defense, secretary of human services, secretary of education, secretary of agriculture, etc. These secretaries direct the operation of executive agencies, such as the US Department of Agriculture, Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Interior, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, etc. These agencies are staffed by the many federal employees who we often hear about. The role of the departments and agencies is to execute the programs that Congress has authorized in the statutes it has enacted.

The executive branch of government can execute/implement only the programs that the legislative branch has authorized and funded. For example, the President cannot create a program that Congress has not authorized. The President can urge Congress to adopt particular programs; but that is as far as the President can go.

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