Week 8 10/28/2013
Fiorina, chapter 11; Rourke, chapter 12
President has national constituency.
Congress holds the key to helping President succeed in their policy aspirations.
• Majority in Congress means the likelihood of proposed legislation by the pres. to be approved.
Power to persuade (public speech) is used much more openly today.
Executive Mansion – White House.
Progressive Era – brought the vocal presidency age.
• T. Roosevelt. Bully Pulpit – nature of presidential status as an ideal vehicle for persuading
the public to support the president’s policies.
State of the Union address – Woodrow Wilson – 1913 – tradition now.
• Late January/early February. Speech fulfillment of the constitutional obligations of reporting to
Congress the state of the union.
Presidents have the power to recommend measures which can initiate debates, to set the
• Best opportunity to initiate policy is in the first months after election.
o Barack Obama (44 President) – stimulus package, climate change measures, &
Congress can ignore or greatly modify pres. recommendations.
Transition period (75 days) – Pres. candidate won November election but before inauguration – January
Following inauguration, Pres. honeymoon – public & congress are more receptive.
FDR – Franklin D. Roosevelt – the longest to hold office.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – Bureau of the Budge formally – responsible for
developing the President’s budget, setting personnel policy in the executive branch & reviewing all
proposed legislation sent by the executive branch to Congress to ensure its consistency w/president’s
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – 1974 – counterbalance the influence of OMB.
• Evaluates President’s budget + the budgetary implications of all other legislation. Veto power – most important formal presidential power.
• Ability to prevent bills passed by Congress from becoming law.
o May be overridden by 2/3s vote in each congressional chamber.
Congress usually fails the 2/3 votes.
Less than 4% of veto’s have been overridden.
o Most states governors have veto powers over their legislatures.
Pocket veto – president not signing the bill into law within the last 10 days of congressional sitting.
• Congress enacts a law 10 days before it adjourns.
o As such, Congress has no opportunity to override a pocket veto.
o If there are more than 10 days left, Pres. has to take action. Otherwise, legislation
results into law.
Line item veto – passed in 1996.
• Going to result in smaller federal budgets, Pres. will be able to veto some provisions of the
legislature while approving of the others.
• Ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
o States it enhances too much presidential powers.
Constitution allows Pres. to appoint ambassadors, public ministers, etc.
Cabinet – top administration officials, most are heads of department in the exec. branch.
• Not written in the Constitution.
• Carry the title “secretary”
o Grew from 4 departments to 15 now.
The 4 most important:
Department of State (foreign Policy), Department of
the treasury (economic matters), Department of
Defense (armed militia + personnel), Department of
Justice (priority on Obama administration; deals with
Supreme Court). o Today cabinet only meets for ceremonial purposes.
Treaties – official agreements w/foreign countries.
• Do not take effect w/o approval by 2/3s senate vote.
• Since senators can block a treaty, pres. often negotiate executive agreements.
o Legal contracts w/foreign countries that require only a pres. signature.
Not in the Constitution.
President = commander in chief of the army & navy.
• Power to commission arms conflicts.
*Have the highest approval ratings right after the win in elections.
*The more popular the pres. is, the higher support for bills that congress will
Constitution gives power to Congress to declare war & govern armed forces.
US v. CurtissWright (1936) – Delegation of President power over arm sales.
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1951) – Presidents could not use foreign policy
authority to grab power at home.
1952 – not seeking reelection.
• Steel industry strike during Korean War. Truman ordered the fed. Gov’t to seize control.
• Truman was behaving like a wartime president.
• Went to War with Korea without Congress approval. Constitution has given the declaration of
war to Congress.
• Sheet was producing steel BECAUSE of Truman. Told union to hold off on the strike. Defied
o Used national TV say he was going to take over Youngstown Sheet.
o Preliminary injunction – wanted the things to remain as they are until they could figure
it out. Went to lower court.
Lower court judge – Pine – executive power is NOT unlimited. Said President could NOT seize the mill.
When the pres. does not act consistently with the congress, his powers are low.
Truman went to war with Korea without consulting the Congress, who has the
power to declare war.
Steel – if congress/constitution did not give the Pres. the power, he could not seize the mill.
Truman lost. Court ruled 63 against.
Constitution did not give him the power & neither did the Congress.
• Did not get “declaration of war” but gave pres. Johnson to use all necessary measures.
• Gulf of Tomkin resolution – gave pres. authority to use all necessary measures.
o Allowed for Vietnam War to take place.
War Powers Resolution – 1973 (Nixon) – required that a Pres. formally notify Congress any time
US troops are sent into harm’s way.
• Troops must withdraw unless Congress approves the presidential decision w/in 60 days of notif.
• Congress declared itself superior. One of the most controversial act
Executive power shall be vested in a President = Constitution.
President implements the law.
Congress cannot act without Presidential approval on budget or policy.
When president is popular, Congress is reluctant to propose bills.
Executive orders – directives to government employees that carry the wright of law unless
contradicting acts passed by Congress.
• These are Constitutional orders.
o Can be overturned by Congress but Pres. Don’t worry b/c it’s a lengthy & time
Obama – closing of the detention facility Guantanamo bay The executive order was not carried out b/c US senate passed an amendment to an appropriation bill for
Vote of 906. Provision to block funds that were needed to transfer/release the prisoners.
Executive privilege – right of the presidents to deny Congress information it requests.
o Watergate affair – 1972 – ruling against Nixon for lacking sufficient privilege
against providing recordings of oval office conversations.
Court rejected absolute privilege.
Nixon resigned in 1974 August.
Clinton scandal in 1998 – congress requested tapes of communication between Clinton and various
Court rejected claim by Clinton and further reduced the rights of Pres. executive privilege.
Privilege is valid in principle still.
Many of the officials resigned, including the VP.
Nixon had to resign afterwards.
Pardons – grant reprieves & pardons for offenses against US.
• Minor offenses or crimes in distant past.
Impeachment – president, another official in the executive branch or a judge of federal courts be
removed from office.
• Require a 2/3s vote of the Senate.
o Clinton scandal.
• Used only when the actions violate the norms of American poltics.
Executive office of the President – EOP
Chief of staff – head of the White House staff. Direct contact w/Pres.
• Meets, communicates decisions to staff, cabinet officers & members of Congress.
• Before, the Pres. himself headed the White House staff.
Foreign policy is more important than domestic. However, FP tied with defense policies is golden.
Two presidency theory – only 1 president at a time, there are 2 presidencies.
• FP presidency
o Fast action. Focused responsibility. Rapid response.
• Domestic policy presidency
o Interest groups and Congress compete with the President.
Week 8 10/28/2013
527 groups – independent groups. Not coordinating with other politica