Amy Z
Lv 6
Amy Z asked in Politics & GovernmentGovernment · 1 decade ago

Other than a figurehead, what purpose does our president serve?

Someone suggested to me today that the president is nothing more than a figurehead to represent America and serves no purpose, therefore they don't bother to ever vote.

I believe in voting, not only because I have the freedom to (use it or lose it) but because I believe the president (don't know if that should be in caps) serves many purposed.

I am not a government buff, but can't the president veto a bill even if it's been passed by the House and the Senate? Maybe i'm wrong...

What else can the President do on their own? Or what does the House and Senate NEED (I really wish I could type in italics) the President for?

If we only had the House of Representatives and a Senate, what problems would there be? Why do we need a president?

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Executive powers

    Within the executive branch itself, the president has broad powers to manage national affairs and the workings of the federal government. The president can issue rules, regulations, and instructions called executive orders, which have the binding force of law upon federal agencies but do not require congressional approval. As Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, the president may also call into federal service the state units of the National Guard. In times of war or national emergency, the Congress may grant the president even broader powers to manage the national economy and protect the security of the United States. These actions have been taken by presidents from Washington to today but are not powers granted by the Constitution to the president. (Congress is the body constitutionally given the power to call forth the national guard and army.)

    The president nominates — and the Senate confirms — the heads of all executive departments and agencies, together with hundreds of other high-ranking federal officials. (See United States Cabinet, Executive Office of the President.)

    The president is also responsible for preparing the budget of the United States, although the Congress must approve it. (See Office of Management and Budget)

    [edit] Legislative powers

    Despite constitutional provisions, the president, as the chief formulator of public policy, has a major legislative role. The president can veto any Act of Congress, and unless two-thirds of the members of each house vote to override the veto, the bill does not become law.

    If the Congress is still in session for ten business days after the president receives the bill, the legislation will become a law without the president's signature. But, if Congress adjourns within the ten business days of giving the bill to the President, the bill dies. If the president does this to a bill, Congress can do nothing to override the president.

    Much of the legislation dealt with by Congress is drafted at the initiative of the executive branch. In annual and special messages to Congress, the president may propose legislation he believes is necessary. The most important of these is the annual State of the Union Address. Before a joint session of Congress, the president outlines the status of the country and his legislative proposals for the upcoming year. If Congress should adjourn without acting on those proposals, the president has the power to call it into special session. But beyond this official role, the president, as head of a political party and as principal executive officer of the United States government, is primarily in a position to influence public opinion and thereby to influence the course of legislation in Congress.

    To improve their working relationships with Congress, presidents in recent years have set up a Congressional Liaison Office in the White House. Presidential aides keep abreast of all important legislative activities and try to persuade senators and representatives of both parties to support administration policies.

    [edit] Judicial powers

    The president has the power to nominate federal judges, including members of the Supreme Court. However, these nominations do require Senate ratification, and this can provide a major stumbling block for presidents who wish to shape their supreme court in a particular ideological stance. The president also has the power to grant full or conditional pardon to anyone convicted of breaking a federal law-- except in a case of impeachment. The president has the pardoning power to shorten prison terms and reduce sentences.

    [edit] Foreign affairs

    Under the Constitution, the president is the federal official primarily responsible for the relations of the United States with foreign nations. The president appoints ambassadors, ministers, and consuls — subject to confirmation by the Senate — and receives foreign ambassadors and other public officials. With the secretary of state, the president manages all official contacts with foreign governments. On occasion, the president may personally participate in summit conferences where chiefs of state meet for direct consultation. Thus, President Woodrow Wilson headed the American delegation to the Paris conference at the end of World War I; President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Allied leaders during World War II; and every president since then has sat down with world leaders to discuss economic and political issues and to reach bilateral and multilateral agreements.

    Through the Department of State and the Department of Defense, the president is responsible for the protection of Americans abroad and of foreign nationals in the United States. The president decides whether to recognize new nations and new governments, and negotiate treaties with other nations, which become binding on the United States when approved by two-thirds of the Senate. The president may also negotiate "executive agreements" with foreign powers that are not subject to Senate confirmation.

    [edit] Constraints on Presidential power

    Because of the vast array of presidential roles and responsibilities, coupled with a conspicuous presence on the national and international scene, political analysts have tended to place great emphasis on the president's powers. Some have even spoken of "the imperial presidency," referring to the expanded role of the office that Franklin D. Roosevelt maintained during his term.

    President Theodore Roosevelt famously called the presidency a "bully pulpit" from which to raise issues nationally, for when a president raises an issue, it inevitably becomes subject to public debate. (Although in the argot of his day "bully" was simply a slang adjective meaning "nifty" or "effective", today this phrase is frequently taken at face value with the more common sense of the word "bully".) A president's power and influence may be limited, but politically the president is certainly the most important power in Washington and, furthermore, is one of the most famous and influential of all Americans.

    Though constrained by various other laws passed by Congress, the President's executive branch conducts most foreign policy, and his power to order and direct troops as commander-in-chief is quite significant. (The exact limits of what a President can do with the military without Congressional authorization are open to debate.)

    The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was designed to do one primary thing: to prevent the majority from ruling with an iron fist. Based on their experience, the framers shied away from giving any branch of the new government too much power. The separation of powers provides a system of shared power known as Checks and Balances (see Separation of powers). For example, the President appoints judges and departmental secretaries. But these appointments must be approved by the Senate.

  • amg503
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    One of the most powerful things the President can do is sign an Executive Order. An EO is a command by the President for for one of the Executive Departments (State Dept, Dept. of Interior, Dept. of Agriculture, etc.) to make a change in operational procedure, or to create new procedure.

    The White House website has a page where you can see the EO's signed by the President.

    The President also sets domestic and foreign policy, and can negotiate with other nation on economic or militaristic issues. The Executive Branch, which the President is head of, makes out the national budget, which is then sent to Congress to vote on. The Executive Branch is also in charge of carrying out laws passed by Congress (The Dept. of Justice is part of this branch, and they carry out prosecution, for example.)

    The President has many, many additional powers, such as being the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military. For more information, go here:

    The President is in charge of running the federal government, and probably has one of the most tedious and stressful jobs on the planet; and yes, is also the figurehead of the country. Luckily for the Officeholder, though, the Executive Branch's operating budget allots for several staff members and aides to handle some of the smaller stuff.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The President has a lot of power. Veto power as you mention, he can pardon people, he is commander and chief of the armed forces, he can issue executive orders and is responsible for enforcing the laws passed by congress also appoints the cabinet and Supreme Court (with approval)

    The Queen of England is a figurehead.

  • 1 decade ago

    The president can veto- which is an important power.

    He can also issue executive orders... which can do a heck of a lot of things.

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  • 1 decade ago

    make no mistake Bush destroyed america with cheny the evil monster!!

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