Chief Executive

The president is the head of the executive branch and is responsible for running the federal bureaucracy and enforcing the laws passed by Congress. To do this, the president is allowed to appoint people to key offices, a power called appointment power. The president nominates members of the cabinet, which consists of appointees who are in charge of the major executive departments and advise the president on policy matters. The president also chooses heads of agencies, federal judges, and about 2,000 lesser jobs. The Senate must approve these nominations. The president also has the power to fire these officials.

The President’s Staff

To do the job effectively, the president needs a large staff. The president sits atop a vast bureaucracy, including the White House staff, the president’s closest advisers. Not surprisingly, as the president relies more heavily on his staff, he often loses the ability to control it.

The president works with the White House staff every day. They help organize the president’s schedule, set priorities, and work with Congress. The president frequently chooses close friends and trusted advisers to the White House staff, and the staff plays a crucial role in shaping the presidency. The head of the White House staff is the White House Chief of Staff. Each president runs the staff differently: Some create rigid hierarchies, whereas others encourage competition among the staffers. The president’s closest advisers are sometimes informally called the kitchen cabinet.

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