The Branches of Government
University of Phoenix
The Branches of Government
Ever wonder how our government works? The government was divided into three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial. What were the reasons our forefathers divided the government into these branches? Each branch works together as a whole by a system of checks and balances in order for the government to be run properly and no one branch ends up having the power. How are the three branches of U.S. Government supposed to interact? Are the branches balanced in power? Why or why not? This paper will discuss these reasons. The three branches of government
The legislative branch established by Article 1 of the constitution, consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powers (OUR GOVERNMENT • THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH, ¶1). The House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected members, divided among the 50 states in proportion to their total population. In addition, six members are non-voting, representing the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five territories of the United States (¶2). The Senate is composed of 100 Senators, two for each state. Until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, Senators were chosen by state legislatures, not by popular vote. Since then, they have been elected to six-year terms by the people of each state (¶5). In order to pass legislation and send it to the President for his signature, both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote. If the President vetoes a bill, they may override his veto by passing the bill again in each chamber with at least two-thirds of each body voting in favor (¶8). Executive
The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet (OUR GOVERNMENT • THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, ¶1). Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress. The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses. The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws. The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment (¶5, ¶6). The Vice President also falls under this category, his primary responsibility is to be ready at a moment's notice to assume the Presidency if the President is unable to perform his duties. This can be because of the President's death, resignation, or temporary incapacitation, or if the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet judge that the President is no longer able to discharge the duties of the presidency (¶11). The Cabinet consists of 15 executive departments — each led by an appointed member of the President's Cabinet — carry out the day-to-day administration of the federal government. Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, the members of the Cabinet are often the President's closest confidants. In addition to running major federal agencies, they play an important role in the Presidential line of succession — after the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and Senate President pro tempore, the line of succession continues with the Cabinet offices in the order in which the departments...