Composition and Role of the United States Executive Branch


The President of the United States is the head of the Executive Branch. The President is also the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces and is regarded as the head of state. The President is elected every four years by popular vote. Other than being elected, in order to qualify for the presidency, one must fulfill three additional requirements: being at least 35 years old, being a natural born citizen and having resided in the United States for a minimum of 14 years.

As head of the Executive Branch, the President is responsible for approving laws which were passed by the Legislative Branch. He may choose to either approve a new law that was passed, or to veto it. Despite this, Congress can override a presidential veto by conducting a vote in which the Senate and House of Representatives approve the override by at least two thirds. As the President is head of state, one of the roles of the Executive Branch is to conduct diplomatic talks with other countries. The President can negotiate international treaties, however these must still be ratified by obtaining a two third majority in the Senate. Another power that the President has is to give pardons for those who were convicted of offenses to federal laws.

The Vice President is also a member of the Executive Branch and so are officials of the Cabinet, which is a body that comprises the leaders of 15 departments. Among them are the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Members of the Cabinet are appointed by the President, although this appointment must still be confirmed by the Legislative Branch.


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