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What is a primary role of the executive branch in the United States?
To vote on laws
To write laws
To enforce laws
To interpret laws
Question 1 Explanation:
The President is the head of the executive branch, and one of the executive branch’s main responsibilities is to ensure the faithful execution of laws. The President is also charged with the roles of Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military and the recognized Head of State for all foreign and domestic affairs.
What is the President’s role in the U.S. legislative process?
The Constitution outlines no role for the executive branch in the lawmaking process.
The President sits on Congressional committees as a non-voting participant.
The majority of the bills that are debated in Congress come from the President.
The President either approves or vetoes a bill after it is approved by both Houses of Congress.
Question 2 Explanation:
The President has the option to approve or reject laws passed by both Houses of Congress. If the President vetoes a law, Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 majority in both the House and Senate.
What is a “pocket veto”?
A bill that the President neglects or refuses to sign after one month of inaction.
A bill that the President neglects or refuses to sign after ten days, should Congress be in session on the tenth day.
A bill that the President neglects or refuses to sign after ten days, should Congress not be in session on the tenth day.
A bill that the President never physically returns to Congress. Should the President hold onto the bill indefinitely, it is never officially implemented.
Question 3 Explanation:
The pocket veto is a constitutionally-sound procedural method for Presidents to kill a bill without a formal veto. A “pocket veto” cannot be superseded by Congress without reintroducing the legislation as a new bill and pass it through both chambers again. While pocket vetoes are not as common as the standard veto, they nevertheless make up approximately 41% of all the presidential vetoes issued throughout American history.
Which of the following hypothetical people would be eligible to be elected President?
A 58-year-old man who was born in Alaska and has already served as President for two, nonconsecutive terms
A 61-year-old man born in California who has lived in Canada for fifty years
A 37-year-old woman born in Germany to American parents on an American military base who moved to the United States on her fifth birthday
A 34-year-old man who was born in Massachusetts and has lived in the United States his entire life
Question 4 Explanation:
Article II, Section 1 states that “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.” Since an American military base is considered U.S. territory, a child born to American parents there is a “natural born citizen.”
How is the President elected?
By receiving the most votes nationwide
By receiving 270 electoral votes
By Senate selection from the three presidential candidates with the most electoral votes
None of the above
Question 5 Explanation:
The U.S. Constitution established the Electoral College, whereby each state is allotted a number of electors proportionate to its population. Citizens in each state vote for their preferred candidate, and each state then uses those results to appoint their electors to cast an official vote for a candidate. On four occasions, the winner of the popular vote has not won the electoral vote and the presidency.
What happens should no presidential candidate receive the majority of Electoral College votes?
A nationwide runoff vote is held
The winner of the popular vote becomes the President
The Senate chooses the President
The House of Representatives selects the President
Question 6 Explanation:
Should no presidential candidate receive 270 electoral votes, the House of Representative is called upon. Each state delegation has one vote that can be cast for any of top three candidates, regardless of the popular vote results from their states.
What is the President’s role in conducting American foreign policy?
Congress makes the majority of foreign policy decisions, but the President is sometimes asked to approve their measures before they are carried out.
The President is the chief diplomat of the United States and directs America’s foreign policy efforts.
The nation’s intelligence agencies handle the majority of American foreign policy efforts, but the President is regularly briefed on their actions.
The President’s role in foreign policy is largely ceremonial.
Question 7 Explanation:
Foreign policy is a responsibility of the executive branch of U.S. government. While Congress provides input for certain interactions with foreign states, the President not only sets foreign policy, but also, as Commander-in-Chief, is the only person with the authority to order troops and equipment into foreign territory.
What does the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution accomplish?
It clarifies the rules regarding Presidential succession and disability
It limits the number of terms a president can serve
It limits the power of the executive branch
It changes the date on which the terms of the President and Vice-President begin and end
Question 8 Explanation:
The Constitution did not state who had the power to declare a President incapacitated nor provide a clear mechanism for filling Vice-Presidential vacancies. The 25th Amendment addresses these issues and clarifies the rules of Presidential succession.
What is a method that the executive branch can employ to check the power of the judicial branch?
The President sets the salaries of federal court judges, including Supreme Court Justices
The President is the highest-ranking attorney in the United States
The President has the constitutional authority to pardon, postpone, or reduce the sentences of those convicted of federal crimes
The Vice-President serves on the Supreme Court when a Justice is unable or unfit to serve
Question 9 Explanation:
The Constitution states that Presidents have the “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment ...” A pardon eliminates the legal effects of a person's conviction, whereas a reprieve is the lessening of an already imposed sentence. Unlike a pardon, a reprieve does not affect legal guilt.
What is the President’s constitutional obligation with respect to the “State of the Union” address?
The President must deliver an annual speech to Congress that details his legislative agenda
The President must provide a written policy agenda to Congress on a quarterly basis
At the end of each year, the President and his Cabinet leaders must provide detailed reports about their actions and policies over the previous twelve months
Occasionally, the President must provide Congress with information about the condition of the country and offer policy recommendations
Question 10 Explanation:
The Constitution requires that the President “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Recent presidents have chosen to orally deliver State of the Union speeches to joint sessions of Congress. Before President Wilson, however, most State of the Union obligations were fulfilled in writing.
Which is a method by which the President can impact how laws are carried out?
Question 11 Explanation:
Executive Orders are directives issued by the President to enforce legislation passed by Congress. They can be used to order federal workers and departments to carry out specific objectives. Executive Orders cannot legislate, and when a President tries to use them to make new laws or change existing ones, these actions are often challenged in court.
Which of the following is a method by which the President’s role as Commander in Chief is checked by the legislative branch?
Congress approve or disapproves of military spending
Only Congress has the power to declare war
Troops cannot be sent into an armed conflict lasting more than sixty days without congressional approval
All of the above
Question 12 Explanation:
The Constitution grants only the President the authority to order troops into an armed conflict, but Congress has sole authority to formally declare war and approve military spending. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 further increased congressional power by requiring that any order sending troops into combat must be approved by the legislature within sixty days.
Which of the following is a method whereby the President can directly impact American foreign policy without the support of another branch of the federal government?
Make executive agreements
Make international treaties
Appoint ambassadors to foreign nations
Question 13 Explanation:
While the President responsible for shaping and steering American foreign policy, most decisions require congressional approval: e.g., declaring war, appointing ambassadors, and ratifying international treaties. Executive agreements between the United States and foreign governments are less formal than treaties, and although they are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, they have been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Until the mid-twentieth century, what was the maximum number of terms someone could serve as President of the United States?
There were no term limits
Question 14 Explanation:
While President George Washington set the precedent of not seeking a third term, no constitutional clause mandated the first president’s decision. Only President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has served more than two terms. In 1951, the Twenty-second Amendment was ratified and imposed the two-term limit on the office.
How is the President’s salary set?
The Supreme Court sets and approves the President's salary
Congress adjusts the President's salary each year based on performance
The President’s salary is set by legislation and it cannot be changed during their term
The outgoing President sets the salary for the incoming President
Question 15 Explanation:
The President's salary is set by Congressional legislation. The Constitution states that their salary cannot be increased or decreased during their term in office.
What happens after a President is impeached?
The President is immediately removed from office
The President stands trial in the Senate and will be removed from office if convicted
The President stands trial in the Supreme Court and will be removed from office if convicted
The President stands trial in the House of Representatives and will be removed from office if convicted
Question 16 Explanation:
The Constitution requires that the House of Representatives bring formal charges of impeachment against federal officials, including the President. Should an official be impeached, they must stand trial in the Senate. Should the official be found guilty by a two-thirds majority, he or she is removed from the position.
What is the role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?
To serve as military advisers to the President and the national security team
To command the Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard
To make and carry out military decisions on behalf of the American people
All of the above
Question 17 Explanation:
The institution known as the Joint Chiefs of Staff has undergone several transformations since its inception in 1903 as the Joint Army and Navy Board. In its current incarnation, the body is made up of a chairman, a vice-chairman, and an appointed chief from each of the branches of the American military. The Joint Chiefs are strictly advisers and can set neither orders to military units nor formal policy on their own.
What is the role of the presidential cabinet?
To lead the departments of the executive branch and advise the President
To check the President’s power on foreign and domestic affairs
To serve as the primary buffer between the President and Congress
To approve presidential nominees
Question 18 Explanation:
The President’s cabinet is a collection of advisers that includes not only the White House Chief of Staff, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., the Vice-President, but also the heads of the fifteen main executive departments. This group meets on a regular basis to advise the President and coordinate the efforts of the executive branch.
What constitutional powers have been granted to the President’s spouse?
The “First Lady” is tenth in the line of presidential succession
The “First Lady” is granted a cabinet position focused on a personally-chosen initiative
The “First Lady” is responsible for managing the domestic staff of the White House
There is no mention of the Presidential spouse in the Constitution
Question 19 Explanation:
Presidential spouses have no constitutional power or authority. Many wives of past Presidents, however, have played key roles in initiatives to benefit specific causes or disadvantaged groups.
What role do executive departments and agencies play in fulfilling the constitutional duties of the executive branch?
They translate the laws passed by Congress into actionable rules and procedures
They regulate major industries and organizations in accordance with federal law
They manage the everyday responsibilities of the federal government
All of the above
Question 20 Explanation:
As its name implies, the executive branch must execute American laws and policies. Congress seldom passes laws with a complete roadmap for how to put those laws into practice. The many executive departments and agencies carry out this immense responsibility.
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