President, “Commander In Chief”, sounds pretty important. With the election behind us, and a few more months of the Obamas in office- it’s time you know what exactly a President is responsible for.
The powers and responsibilities of the president are enumerated in Articles I and II of the Constitution. The president is the commander-in-chief of the military (but not the power to declare war, which is reserved to the Congress). He/She also has the power to:
Make treaties “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,”
With the Senate’s consent, can appoint ambassadors, judges, Supreme Court justices, and a host of other public officials.
They have the power to veto congressional bills, but the veto can be overridden with a two-thirds congressional majority.
That’s it. That’s what the Constitution says about the powers and responsibilities of the president.
So what does a modern president actually do?
The simplest answer is that the president does a little bit of everything.
As the head of the executive branch, he/she exercises authority over four million federal employees in over 200 different executive agencies (like NASA, the CIA, and even the post office) and the fifteen executive departments (State, Treasury, Defense, etc.). Some of these appointments require congressional approval, namely the heads of most executive agencies, as opposed to Cabinet officers like the secretary of state, who serve at the discretion of the president.
Presidents also have broad budgetary obligations and oversight. While Congress has the power of the purse under the Constitution, the president must sign any congressional budget and also negotiates with the Congress over issues such as the federal debt, remember 2011?
In addition to his/her governmental and policymaking roles, the president is also the head of state, which in many other countries is a strictly ceremonial role. As a result, the president hosts state dinners and meets with other heads of state.
Both the Left and the Right have a tumultuous relationship with the presidency-they love it when their candidate is in office, and they hate it when their candidate isn’t in office. Generally speaking, both Republican and Democratic presidents take an expansionary view of presidential power, and both liberal and conservative scholars and pundits have found much to object to in the use and abuse of presidential power.
The powers of the presidency have expanded in recent years, just as the federal government has expanded greatly over time. But even at the beginning of the republic, presidents often took an expansionary view of their powers — Thomas Jefferson, approved the Louisiana Purchase despite objections that such an agreement was unconstitutional.
So there you have it, a broad scope of what to expect out of the next President Of the USA in 2017. Regardless of your political affiliation, and what you hoped the outcome would be, we’re in for a wild ride!