Executive Department and Independent Agencies

Executive Department
and Independent Agencies
Learning Objectives
 Explain the background and history of the executive
 Identify and describe the responsibilities of the 14 executive
 Explain the background and history of the independent
 Identify and describe the responsibilities of some key
independent agencies.
Words to Know
 Embassy – the office and official home of a country’s
 Consulate – the official home of a consul; a consul is a
government official sent to a foreign country to protect the
home country’s business interest and its citizens
 Customs duty – a government tax on imported goods
 Enforce – to make someone at something obey a rule or
Words to Know (con’t.)
 Immigration – the act of entering and settling in a
country not of one’s birth
 Conservation – the act of keeping the natural
environment safe and protected
 Patent – the official right given to an inventor to make or
sell an invention for a certain time without being copies
 Administer – to manage or have charge of
Words to Know (con’t.)
 Veteran – a person who has served in the country’s armed
 Independent agency – a government body or group that
is free from control of the three branches of government
 Regulate – to control by rule or method
 Commerce – any trade or business activity
Words to Know (con’t.)
 Civilian – not involving the armed forces
 Bureaucracy – a large government organization made up
of many offices and bureaus
The Beginnings of the
Executive Departments
 In 1789, the first Congress set up 3 executive departments
a.) State
b.) Treasury
c.) War
 The position of Attorney General was also created then
 Federal government work has increased over the years
 Congress has added new departments
 Today there are 14 executive departments
* see handout
Organization and Duties
 Each head of the department is called the Secretary
 In the Justice Department the head is call the Attorney
 The head of departments are appointed by the President
and have to be approved by Senate
 They are all members of the President’s Cabinet
 They have many jobs
a. report on activities
b. carry out the President’s policies
c. testify before Congress
d. seek money from budget committee
e. ask for support for new programs
 Each department has a top assistant called
a. under secretary or
b. deputy secretary
 They also have assistant secretaries
 The deputies and assistants are also appointed by President
and approved by Senate
 Within each executive department there are many smaller
agencies call
a. bureaus
b. offices
c. services or
d. divisions
 The main office is in DC
 Others spread across the country for people to have easier
Department of State
 Established 1789
 Responsibilities
a. Serves as Presidents right arm in foreign relations
b. Advises President on foreign policy
c. manages embassies and consulates around the world
 Major Agencies
a. Bureau of European Affairs
b. Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
c. Bureau of Consular Affairs
Department of Treasury
 Established 1789
 Responsibilities
a. Collects taxes and custom duties
b. Borrows and repays money for federal government
c. Prints money and coins
d. Manages banks
 Major Agencies
a. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
b. US Custom Service
c. US Secret Service
Department of Interior
 Established 1849
 Responsibilities
a. Manages 500 million acres of public land
b. Manages national parks and
American Indian Reservations
c. Plans conservation, development
and use of natural and wildlife
 Major Agencies
a. Bureau of Land Management
b. National Park Service
c. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of Justice
 Established 1870
 Responsibilities
a. Gives legal advice to President
b. Represents United States in court
c. Enforces federal criminal laws, civil rights, antitrust,
and immigration laws
d. Manages federal prison system
 Major Agencies
a. FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
b. Civil Rights Division
c. Immigration and Naturalization
d. DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency)
Department of Agriculture
 Established 1889
 Responsibilities
a. Helps farmers plan and use farming methods
b. Inspects and grades meat, poultry, and dairy
c. Run school lunch programs for low-income families
 Major Agencies
a. FHA (Farmers Home Administration)
b. Food and Safety Inspection Service
c. Agricultural Research Service
Department of Commerce
 Established 1913
 Responsibilities
a. Promotes trade between US and other countries
b. Help grow economy
c. Does US census
d. Issues patents
 Major Agencies
a. International Trade Administration
b. Bureau of Census
c. Patent and Trademark Office
d. National Weather Service
Department of Labor
 Established 1916
 Responsibilities
a. Enforces federal labor laws
b. Provides benefits to workers and the unemployed
c. Set health and safety standards
 Major Agencies
a. Employment and Training Administration
b. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
c. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Department of Defense
 Established 1949
 Responsibilities
a. Controls nation’s armed forces
b. Advises President on all military and
National Security
c. Supervises improvement of nation’s rivers and harbors
 Major Agencies
a. Department of Army
b. Department of Navy
c. Department of Air Force
d. Army Corps of Engineers
Department of Housing and Urban
 Established 1965
 Responsibilities
a. Helps US cities in area of housing
b. Gives financial aid to cities to repair buildings
c. Helps local governments repair water and sewer
systems and fight air pollution
 Major Agencies
a. HUD – directed by assistant secretaries+
1. Assistant Secretary for Community Planning
and Development
2. Assistant Secretary for Housing
3. Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing
Department of Transportation
 Established 1966
 Responsibilities
a. Enforces law on air, sea, rail, and highway safety
b. Maintains highways and railways
c. Provides financial help to state and local governments
to build and develop bus and railway systems
 Major Agencies
a. Federal Aviation Association
b. US Coast Guard
c. Federal Highway Administration
d. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Department of Energy
 Established 1977
 Responsibilities
a. To find, protect, and conserve the country’s
sources of energy
b. Regulates the use of nuclear power
 Major Agencies – Programs administered by
assistant secretaries
a. Conservation and Renewable Energy
b. Defense Programs
c. Nuclear Energy
Department of Education
 Established 1979
 Responsibilities
a. Provides financial help for all levels of education
b. Administers programs for grades K-12 and colleges
c. Provides aid for programs for handicapped,
disadvantaged, and gifted students
d. Publishes information and
statistics about schools
 Major Agencies – Programs administered by
assistant secretaries
a. Elementary and Secondary Education
b. Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
c. Education Research and Improvement
Department of Health and Human Services
 Established 1979
 Responsibilities
a. Manages health and welfare
programs for all Americans
b. Provides social security
c. Provides aid to handicapped people
d. Conducts medical research
 Major Agencies
a. Social Security Administration
b. Health Care Financing Administration
c. Public Health Service
Department of Veterans Affairs
 Established 1988
 Responsibilities
a. Operate programs to benefit veterans and their families
b. Provides financial help for education,
medical care, and home loan purchases
 Major Agencies
a. Veterans Benefits Administration
b. Veterans Health Services and Research Administration
c. National Cemetery System
The Independent Agencies
and Commissions
 The federal government has more than 70 independent
 The President appoints the head of these agencies
 Senate has to approve these appointments and budgets
for agencies
Environmental Protection Agency
 Established 1970
 Responsibilities
a. to protect the country’s environment
b. enforces the laws that to keep our air and water
clean from pollution
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA)
 Established 1958
 Responsibilities
a. in charge of America’s space program
b. puts satellites and rockets into orbit
c. space shuttle program
d. makes contributions to
industry and medicine
United States Postal Service
 Established 1971
 Responsibilities
a. runs the nations mail system
b. Postmaster General is head of the service
 Established 1971
 Responsibilities
a. an “umbrella agency”
b. Peace Corps
1. set up in 1961
2. help develop relations between US and
3. trains volunteers as teachers,
farmers, engineers, and other jobs
1. Volunteers in Service to America
2. helps needy people in the US
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)
 Established 1887
 Responsibilities
a. regulates all commerce carried between states
b. issues licenses for companies to operate
c. set rates they charge
d. sets safety rules
Federal Trade Commission
 Established 1914
 Responsibilities
a. prevents unfair trading practices in business
b. enforces laws against price fixing, false labeling,
and untrue claims in advertising
c. checks products for safety
before they are put on market
Federal Communication Commission
 Established 1914
 Responsibilities
a. regulates all radio and television stations
b. makes sure stations have licenses
c. decides who can use the communication satellites
d. regulates telephone and telegraph
Consumer Product Safety Commission
 Established 1972
 Responsibilities
a. protects consumers from unsafe
products that can cause
illness, death, or injury
b. sets and enforces safety standards
c. regulates standards for appliances, baby clothes,
sports equipment, and toys
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
 Established 1975
 Responsibilities
a. Licenses and regulates all
civilian nuclear power plants
and nuclear materials
b. makes sure nuclear power is
used peacefully and safely
c. also conducts research to
find newer and safer ways
of using nuclear power
The Federal Bureaucracy
 The President’s executive team, executive departments,
and the independent agencies make up the Federal
* See handout

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