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Federal Executive Branch

Including members of the armed forces, the Executive Branch employs more than 4 million Americans.

Function: carries out and enforces laws.

Includes: President, vice president, the Cabinet, executive departments, independent agencies, and other boards, commissions, and committees.

Key Roles

President - The president leads the country. The president is the head of state, leader of the federal government, and Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces. The president serves a four-year term and can be elected no more than two times.

Executive Office of the President - The EOP has responsibility for tasks ranging from communicating the President’s message to the American people to promoting our trade interests abroad. The EOP, overseen by the White House Chief of Staff, has traditionally been home to many of the President’s closest advisers.

Vice President - The vice president supports the president. If the president is unable to serve, the vice president becomes president. The vice president can be elected and serve an unlimited number of four-year terms as vice president, even under a different president.

Cabinet - Cabinet members serve as advisors to the president. They include the vice president, heads of executive departments, and other high-ranking government officials. Cabinet members are nominated by the president and must be approved by a simple majority of the Senate—51 votes if all 100 Senators vote.

Executive Departments - Executive Departments are the 15 main agencies of the federal governments. These include the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Interior, Treasury, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs.

Sub-agencies and Bureaus - Smaller sub-agencies support specialized work within their parent executive department agencies.

Independent agencies - These agencies are not represented in the cabinet and are not part of the Executive Office of the president. They deal with government operations, the economy, and regulatory oversight.


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