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Advice and Consent

Terms in the Constitution describing the U.S. Senate's power to review and approve treaties and presidential appointments.

Appointment Power

The authority vested in the president to fill a government office or position. Positions filled by presidential appointment include those in the executive branch and the federal judiciary, commissioned officers in the armed forces, and members of the independent regulatory commissions


An advisory group selected by the president to aid in making decisions. The cabinet includes the heads of fifteen executive departments and others named by the president.

Chief Diplomat

The role of the president in recognizing foreign governments, making treaties, and effecting executive agreements.

Chief Executive

The role of the president as head of the executive branch of the government.

Chief Legislator

The role of the president in influencing the making of laws.

Chief of Staff

The person who is named to direct the White House Office and advise the president.

Civil Service

A collective term for the body of employees working for the government. Generally, civil service is understood to apply to all those who gain government employment through a merit system.

Commander in Chief

The role of the president as supreme commander of the military forces of the United States and of the state National Guard units when they are called into federal service

Constitutional Power

A power vested in the president by Article II of the Constitution.

Diplomatic Recognition

The formal acknowledgment of a foreign government as legitimate.

Emergency Power

An inherent power exercised by the president during a period of national crisis.

Executive Agreement

An international agreement made by the president, without senatorial ratification, with the head of a foreign state.

Executive Office of the President (EOP)

An organization established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to assist the president in carrying out major duties.

Executive Privilege

The right of executive officials to withhold information from or to refuse to appear before a legislative committee.

Expressed Power

A power of the president that is expressly written into the Constitution or into statutory law.

Federal Register

A publication of the U.S. government that prints executive orders, rules, and regulations.

Head of State

The role of the president as ceremonial head of the government.


An action by the House of Representatives to accuse the president, vice president, or other civil officers of the United States of committing "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Inherent Power

A power of the president derived from the statements in the Constitution that "the executive Power shall be vested in a President" and that the president should "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" defined through practice rather than through law.

Kitchen Cabinet

The informal advisers to the president.

Line-Item Veto

The power of an executive to veto individual lines or items within a piece of legislation without vetoing the entire bill.

National Security Council (NSC)

An agency in the Executive Office of the President that advises the president on national security.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

A division of the Executive Office of the President. The OMB assists the president in preparing the annual budget, clearing and coordinating departmental agency budgets, and supervising the administration of the federal budget.


A release from the punishment for or legal consequences of a crime a pardon can be granted by the president before or after a conviction.


The practice of rewarding faithful party workers and followers with government employment and contracts.

Pocket Veto

A special veto exercised by the chief executive after a legislative body has adjourned. Bills not signed by the chief executive die after a specified period of time. If Congress wishes to reconsider such a bill, it must be reintroduced in the following session of Congress.


A formal postponement of the execution of a sentence imposed by a court of law.

Signing Statement

A written declaration that a president may make when signing a bill into law. Usually, such statements point out sections of the law that the president deems unconstitutional.

State of the Union Message

An annual message to Congress in which the president proposes a legislative program. The message is addressed not only to Congress but also to the American people and to the world.

Statutory Power

A power created for the president through laws enacted by Congress.

Twelfth Amendment

An amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1804, that specifies the separate election of the president and vice president by the electoral college.

Twenty-fifth Amendment

A 1967 amendment to the Constitution that establishes procedures for filling presidential and vice presidential vacancies and makes provisions for presidential disability.

Veto Message

The president's formal explanation of a veto when legislation is returned to Congress.

War Powers Resolution

A law passed in 1973 spelling out the conditions under which the president can commit troops without congressional approval.

Washington Community

Individuals regularly involved with politics in Washington, D.C.

White House Office

The personal office of the president, which tends to presidential political needs and manages the media.

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