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28 Cards in this Set

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ad hoc structure
A method in which the president organizes his personal staff that employs task forces, committees, and informal groups of friends dealing directly with him.
Budget Reform Act of 1974
A congressional effort to control presidential impoundments. It requires, among other things, that the president spend all appropriated funds unless he first tells Congress which funds he wishes not to spend and Congress, within forty-five days, agrees to delete the items. If he wishes simply to delay spending money, he need only inform Congress, but Congress in turn can refuse the delay by passing a resolution requiring immediate release of the funds.
cabinet
By custom, the heads of the fourteen major executive departments who meet to discuss matters with the president. These "secretaries" receive their positions by presidential nomination and confirmation by the Senate. They can be removed at the will of the president.
circular structure
A method in which the president organizes his personal staff that has cabinet secretaries and assistants reporting directly to the president.
direct democracy
A form of democracy in which the people legislate for themselves.
divided government
A government in which one party controls the White House and a different party controls one or both houses of Congress.
electoral college
The body that formally selects the president. Each state is allotted electoral votes equal to the number of its representatives and senators in Congress. It can decide how its electors are to be chosen and under what method they cast their votes for president. The candidate for the presidency who receives a majority of these votes wins. If no candidate obtains a majority, the House of Representatives chooses from the top three in electoral votes.
executive agencies
Federal agencies that are part of the executive branch but outside the structure of cabinet departments. Their heads typically serve at the pleasure of the president and can be removed at the president's discretion.
Executive Office of the President
Executive agencies that report directly to the president and whose purpose is to perform staff services for the president. Top positions are filled by presidential nomination with Senate confirmation.
executive privilege
A claim by the president entitling him to withhold information from the courts or Congress. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that such a claim is valid when sensitive military or diplomatic matters are involved, but it refused to recognize an "absolute unqualified" presidential privilege of immunity
impeachment
A form of indictment voted on by the House of Representatives. It can be brought against the president, the vice president, and all "civil officers" of the federal government. To be removed from his or her position, the impeached officer must be convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.
impoundment
The refusal of the president to spend money appropriated by Congress. The Constitution is silent on this power, but the Budget Reform Act of 1974 limits the president's ability to impound funds.
independent agencies
Federal agencies that are part of the executive branch but outside the structure of cabinet departments. Their heads typically serve fixed terms of office and can be removed only for cause.
inherent powers
Powers not specified in the Constitution which the president claims. These powers are asserted by virtue of office.
lame duck
A politician whose power has been diminished because he or she is about to leave office as a result of electoral defeat or statutory limitation.
legislative veto
A method by which Congress in a law allows either one or both houses to block a proposed executive action. It is frequently used for presidential reorganization plans of the executive branch. These vetoes were declared unconstitutional in 1981.
Office of Management and Budget
Created as the Bureau of the Budget in 1921, the OMB was reorganized in 1970. It assembles and analyzes the national budget submitted to Congress by the president. Additional duties include studying the organization and operation of the executive branch, devising plans for reorganizing departments and agencies, developing ways of getting better information about government programs, and reviewing proposals that cabinet departments want included in the president's legislative program.
perks
short form of the term "perquisites," meaning the fringe benefits of office.
pocket veto
One of two ways for a president to disapprove a bill sent to him by Congress. If the president does not sign the bill within ten days of receiving it, and Congress has adjourned within that time, the bill does not become law.
presidential coattails
The charismatic power of a president which enables congressional candidates of the same party to ride into office on the strength of his popularity. This influence has declined in recent elections.
prime minister
The head of government in a parliamentary system. Chosen by the legislature, this official selects the other ministers of government from among the members of parliament and remains in power as long as his or her party has a majority of seats in the legislature, as long as the assembled coalition holds together, or until the next scheduled election.
pyramid structure
A method in which the president organizes his personal staff that has most assistants reporting through a hierarchy to a chief of staff.
recissions
Presidential recommendations to cut parts of appropriations bills; a 1996 law allows the president's recissions to go into effect unless they are overridden by a two-thirds vote in Congress.
Twenty-fifth Amendment
A constitutional amendment ratified in 1967 which deals with presidential disability. It provides that the vice president is to serve as acting president whenever the president declares he is unable to discharge the duties of office or whenever the vice president and a majority of the cabinet declare the president incapacitated. If the president disagrees, a two-thirds vote of Congress is needed to confirm that the president is unable to execute his duties. The amendment also deals with a vacancy in the vice presidency by allowing the president to nominate a new vice president subject to confirmation by a majority vote of both houses.
Twenty-second Amendment
A constitutional amendment ratified in 1951 which limits presidents to two terms of office.
unified government
A government in which the same party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress.
veto message
A statement the president sends to Congress accompanying a refusal to sign a bill passed by both houses. It indicates the president's reasons for the veto. A two-thirds vote of both houses overrides the veto.
White House Office Personal assistants to the president with offices in the White House.
These aides oversee the political and policy interests of the president and do not require Senate confirmation for appointment. They can be removed at the discretion of the president.