2 Constitutional Powers The president’s main job is to carry out the laws passed by Congress.The Constitution gives the president power to veto, call Congress into special session, serve as commander in chief and receive foreign officials. The president can make treaties, appoint judges and top gov’t officials and pardon convicted criminals.
3 continuedIn the State of the Union address each year, the president informs Congress of important issues facing the nation and proposes new legislative programs.
4 Roles of the PresidentAs Chief Executive, the president is in charge of 14 cabinet departments and more than 3 million gov’t workers. The president appoints the heads of cabinet departments and large agencies, with Senate approval.The president may not make laws but can issue executive orders – rules or commands that have the force of law.
5 continuedThe president can appoint federal judges, including Supreme Court justices. This power is important because the way the Supreme Court interprets laws greatly affects life in the U.S. Most presidents appoint justices who share views similar to their own.
6 continuedThe president may grant pardons, or declarations of forgiveness and freedom from punishment. The president may issue a reprieve, an order to delay a person’s punishment until a higher court can hear the case. The president may also grant amnesty, a pardon toward a group of people
7 continuedThe president directs foreign policy, deciding how the U.S. will act toward other countries.As commander in chief, the president is in charge of all branches of the armed forces. Congress and the president share the power to make war. Only Congress can declare war, but only the president can order soldiers into battle.
8 continuedCongress has declared war only five times, yet presidents have sent troops into action more than 150 times. This situation may threaten the system of checks and balances.
9 continuedAfter the undeclared Vietnam War, Congress passed the War Powers Act. This law requires the president to notify Congress immediately when troops are sent into battle. The troops must be brought home after 60 days unless Congress approves a longer stay or declares war.
10 continuedOnly Congress may introduce bills, but the executive branch proposes most legislation. All presidents have a legislative program that they want Congress to pass. They make speeches and talk to key members of Congress to build support for their programs. The president’s staff works on the laws with members of Congress.
11 continuedThe president and Congress often disagree. One reason is that the president represents the whole nation. Congress members represent only their state or district. Another reason is that the president can serve only two terms. Many congress members win reelection many times and remain in office for decades. As a result, the president often wants to move faster on programs than members of Congress do.
12 continuedAs head, the president hosts visiting foreign leaders and carries out ceremonial functions, such as giving medals to the country’s heroes.As the country’s economic leader, the president must plan the federal budget and try to deal with such problems as unemployment, rising prices and high taxes.
13 continuedThe president is the leader of his or her political party. The party helps the president get elected. In return, the president gives speeches to raise money and help fellow party members win office.