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The Executive Branch

The head of the Executive Branch is the President of the United States.

He or she must be a person who was born in the United States, be at least 35 years of age, and have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.

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A person born in the United States but who has lived in a foreign country all of his/her life would not be eligible to run for President of the United States in an election.

However, if they were born in the United States and lived in a foreign country AND has resided in the United State for at least 14 years (these years do not have to be consecutive years), he or she would be eligible to run for President.

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Presidential Responsibilities

The President of the United States has constitutional responsibilities. He or she serves as the Commander in Chief of all sections of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy).  

With discussions and advice of the Federal Cabinet, he or she drafts legislation, decides on foreign policy, negotiates treaties with other countries, appoints federal judges, ambassadors and cabinet officials.

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The President is also the leader of their particular political party. The President also appoints the heads of more than 50 independent federal commissions.

The President of the United States can issue executive orders to the Executive Branch members to change existing laws.

He or she can also extend pardons and clemencies for people who have been charged and convicted of federal crimes. The only exception to these crimes are cases of impeachment.

The President cannot pardon himself or herself.

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The EOP and the President’s Cabinet

The Executive Office of the President (EOP) is made up of the President’s immediate staff, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

With the help and advice of the President’s Cabinet (the Vice President, department heads and the heads of independent agencies) the President chooses the members of the Executive Branch who will be in charge of certain departments, and they must then be approved by the Senate.

Once approved, the President cannot dismiss them.

US Senate and Congress

Responsibilities of the Executive Branch

The Executive Branch of the federal government is made up of agencies that enforce rules and resolve disputes about federal regulations.

The Executive Branch is in charge of ensuring the laws of the United States are obeyed by state governing departments and each state’s citizens.

For example, a state’s police department cannot make or enforce laws that are not approved by the Executive Branch.

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Government corporations are part of the Executive Branch. These corporations supply services to the citizens of the United States, such as Amtrak and the U.S. Postal Service.  

Part of the Executive Branch is made up of agencies, such as the CIA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and NASA.

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It also includes independent regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Reserve.

Related: Money and Economics for Kids

The Executive Branch oversees diplomatic negotiations with foreign countries and recommends treaties to be signed by the President. These first have to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.  

US Government

Quiz Time!

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QUESTIONS

  1. What are the requirements for a person to run for President of the United States?
  2. Who appoints the members of the Executive Branch?
  3. What or who approves the appointments of the members of the Executive Branch?
  4. What does the Executive Branch do?
  5. Name 6 agencies whose heads are part of the Executive Branch.

ANSWERS

  1. A person who wants to run for President of the United States must have been born in the United States, be at least 35 years of age, and have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.
  2. The members of the Executive Branch are appointed by the President of the United States with the help and advice of the President’s Cabinet.
  3. The Senate has to approve the appointments of the members of the Executive Branch.
  4. The Executive Branch is in charge of ensuring the laws of the United States are obeyed by state governing departments and each state’s citizens.
  5. The Executive Branch is made up of the heads of agencies, such as the CIA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Federal Reserve System, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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