The Growth of the Executive Office of the President and the White House

Introduction

The United States of America is headed by a president who serves as the head of government and the head of state. The president heads both the federal government and the executive branch of the government. The white house serves as the office of the president as well as the residence. The white house has quite a number of offices. These include;

  • The white house military office
  • USA Freedom Corps
  • The domestic Policy Council
  • Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
  • The White House Fellows Office
  • Office of the National AIDS Policy
  • National Economic Council
  • Homeland Security of data
  • The US Office of the First Lady
  • The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

The executive office of the President of the US, on the other hand, has the following offices:

  • The White House Office
  • The US Office of Administration
  • Council of Economic Advisers
  • The Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • The United States Trade Representative
  • The Council of Environmental Quality
  • Office of Management and Budget The United States President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy

The White House

This is forms the chief workplace and official residence of the US president. The building is made of Aquia sandstone that is painted white.

The President, while in charge of this office, has the responsibility of carrying out the duties of this office. The white house, therefore, takes up the duty of safeguarding the laws to ensure that they are followed faithfully and also executed. The white house, in relation to this, has millions of employees to undertake the various duties entitled to the office. The white house is expected to enforce all the laws of the land as laid out in the constitution, which is normally written by the United States Congress. In addition, the incumbent of the white house serves as the commander in chief of the armed forces. From the constitution, the incumbent of the statehouse takes up the duty of signing bills and laws after they have been discussed and approved by congress as per the powers granted (Currency, 1987).

The white house also forms a cabinet composed of advisors who, with the approval and of the Senate, carry out duties like; appointing the US federal officers, judges as well as ambassadors, give a pardon, and enter into treaties. The white house is served with mechanisms for checks and balances to ensure that no individuals or groups of persons take absolute authority.

As the formal place of residence for the president, the white house has facilities and structures that are necessities and required by the incumbent. This includes medical care, security services, facilities and staff, housekeeping, and recreation, among others. The white house serves the president in all the official and personal necessities.

The white house does not initiate legislation but takes a big part in shaping up the events that lead to its passing. For instance, the white house, through the legislative branch, may control the introduction of given legislation. The white house orders and guides the armed forces of the US, with the president being the commander in chief. In times of war, the white house takes up the duty of directing and commanding the military. Moreover, the white house comes up with the appropriate strategies for the military to act on at war. This office of the president also sanctions the foreign policies and is charged with the direction and negotiation of treaties that are later endorsed by the US senate.

The Executive Office

This office is made up of the staff directly next to the president. This office was initially set up in the year 1939 by the congress of the United States. It was as a result of an opinion by the Brownlow committee recommending that the president required supporting staff. Over the years since the conceptualization of the executive office, it has been increasing in size to the present number of 1,800 full-time workers. The employees are deployed at the Executive Office Building, which is just but an extension of the white house and the West and East wings of the white house.

This executive office has personnel who are directly involved in giving support to the president. They carry the title of assistants to the public, although they do not form the cabinet. This personnel includes the presidential communications office, the press secretary to the white house, and the legal advisors to the white house presidential policy. These are inclusive of all the social, foreign, domestic, and national security federal government policies.

Growth of the executive power and its consequences

To date, the executive branch is the most powerful arm of the United States government. The executive is the branch that is held responsible politically at all levels, be it the state, local, or even at the national levels. The accountability here is considered not as per the implications of the response by the executive but the intensity of that particular response. Since the branch responds faster and with finality to emergency cases, it has the potential to increase its own powers, unlike the other government branches.

The United States judiciary lacks the power to make decisions. The judges here must wait for the plaintiff to file a suit, collect and gather tangible evidence, motif practice, and the eventual trial so that the executive can finally validate an old procedure or even formulate a new one. In contrast, the executive branch can carry out the above procedure, and quite different from the US congress, the branch can be faster because its process of decision making here is streamlined.

The consequence here is an executive that has the power to come up with policy rather than an executive charged with allocating power to the judiciary or legislature.

This state of affairs where the executive processes overall authority over the other branches of the government has contributed to a remarkable loss of the traditional power balancing among the legislature, executive, and judiciary. The executive office of the president has been translated to the law enforcing body while the legislature and judiciary just play a supporting role.

The implication of such a strong executive in the United States is that the executive has horizontally reduced the power of other branches and has more control. The present executive office takes up a nontraditional role in policymaking. This intern gives the executive the potential to control the agendas, demonstrates its vulnerability to being politically influenced and manipulated, and possible inefficiency and ineffectiveness in policymaking and regulation.

Consequently, in such a case, the executive becomes superior to the people who frame it. This is a demonstration of a need to restore the lack of equilibrium in power. Such a concentration in power can be abused with ease, and this probably should not be ignored. The most logical thing for the judiciary to do is to come up with a set of legal guidelines that are not very different from this executive branch. The interpretation of the law by the executive agencies shows a big difference between the necessary judicial approach and what is really taking place.

The executive office has been vested with more power, and this is likely to result in conflict with the other branches. This is because the unharmonious sharing of power leads to imbalance. The conflict is, however, healthy as it puts checks and balances and also reduces and limits the onslaught of the pressure from groups with special interests for legislation during the times of normal politics. Moreover, the process of conflict is an essential element of power separation which contributes to limited protection to the government.

Congress has no power to do away with the executive power of the president of the United States. After all, the president is not an agent of the congress, but instead, he conducts his role constitutionally by exercising power and authority given to him. These are not entrusted to him by congress, and therefore the congress has no right to take away such powers. (Schmeckebier and Roy 2001)

The United States president, in his own right, is an authority, and he is co-equal to the congress. The president practically executes the laws that are passed by congress, acts in accordance with the orders, and does not look at the necessity to separate the various powers. He is not, by any instance, subordinate to the congress.

The executive office of the United States president has the power and mandate to influence policy both during the preemption and implementation of these laws by using the memoranda, proclamations, and the executive orders granted to it. The process of law-making in the US is, however, its own limiting factor. This is because it can never be able to add the powers of the congress leaving behind the US executive; the two must go hand in hand. The legislature makes laws while the executive branch only implements the laws.

When the laws have been put in place, the executive yet again may exercise its superior powers and discreetly decide when, whether or how it will implement the already prepared law. For instance, the president may simply undermine the process by staffing the executive with cronies of politics for as long as there are no demands by the public on correction of the situation. This extent of control and the executive branch is given the power to deliberately act in a unilateral manner during the implementation of laws (Morehead, 1999).

The president is henceforth left with the power to reverse or review the decisions that have been made by the executive, put up changes in the executive, coordinate the activities of the executive, or even enforce his personal views on the government. On the other hand, the rest of the government branches are symbolized by lo0ng, tedious decision-making processes, disagreement on issues and opinions, and the deliberation of important events. The checks and balances used by the other branches of the United States Government have been weak and not been effective in the present administration.

Conclusion

The white house has for years been the residence of the president of the United States of America. This also serves as the official place of work of the president. The Executive Office of the president, as discussed above, has been vested with more power. It is superior to the other arms or branches of the government, namely the legislature and the judiciary. The executive may utilize these powers to influence the process of law formation and implementation and the governance of the US.

The hierarchy of the executive branch in the American government.
Figure 1. The hierarchy of the executive branch in the American government.

References

  • Morehead J. (1999): Introduction to United States Government Information Sources. Libraries Unlimited, Inc.
  • Schmeckebier, L. and Roy B. (2001): Government Publications and their Use. Brookings Institution.
  • Currency E. (1987): History of The United States Government. Oceana Publications, Inc.