Branches of the Government

The Branches of the Government was set in place by the founding Fathers. Over the past several years, I’m one among many that have become frustrated with government gridlock. Upon re-acquainting myself with the U.S. Constitution and becoming more informed as to how our Government works, I have a greater appreciation for our forefathers and our great nation, The United States of America. If only our Government could act “united”, now that would a most welcome change!

The political climate over the past several elections has displayed actions or in-actions and behaviors described as nothing short of disgusting. The political climate is poisonous, political ads are filled with lies and half-truths with millions spent to promote the lies, while the rich buy their way into the government offices. I don’t believe this is what our forefathers had in mind for our nation. Government spending and expansion of, is out of control. Government officials are less than accountable for their actions or in-actions yet manage to agree on increasing their wages, benefits and perks. Our nation is losing respect and credibility throughout the world and we are heading in the wrong direction. Where do we go from here? What is the right direction? I don’t have the answers, but do know our current course has not been productive.

The founding Fathers were very careful when developing the Constitution to insure the branches function together to provide a system based on checks and balances of powers to ensure that no individual or body of the government ever becomes too powerful. Our Government is made up of three branches: The Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. For a more in-depth explanation, resource links are provided at the bottom of this page.Abraham Lincoln - One of our greatest Presidents

The Executive Branch

  • Head of the Executive Branch:  The President plays a key role in the lawmaking process and is responsible to ensure that our laws are enforced accordingly. The President cannot write bills, however, he can propose a bill but a member of Congress must submit it for him.
  • Head of State:  He meets with various leaders of other countries and able to make treaties with them. Before the treaty becomes official, it must be approved by the Senate. The President also has the power to appoint ambassadors to other countries, Supreme Court Justices, federal judges and any official as provided for by the Congress with the Senate’s approval.
  • Commander in Chief of the military:  As the official head of the U.S. military, the President can authorize the use of troops overseas without declaring war. In order to officially declare war, he must get the approval of Congress.
  • Chief of Government:  Technically speaking, the President is the boss of every government worker.

Due to the size and complexity of the executive branch, the President receives assistant from the Vice President, department heads (Cabinet members) and the heads of independent agencies.

The Legislative Branch
The legislative branch of government has the authority to make laws for the nation and is made up of Congress and government agencies such as the Government of Accountability Office (GAO) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Congress is made up of two changers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. This system was created by the Founding Fathers to ensure checks and balances within the legislative branch. Also, members of Congress are elected by a direct vote of the people of the state they represent.

The Constitution grants Congress “all legislative powers” in the national government. Article l, Section 8, of the Constitution lists a wide range of congressional powers, including:

  • To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • Declaring war on other countries;
  • The power to amend the Constitution (involves a lengthy process);
  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • The power to coin money, assessing and collecting taxes;
  • Regulating interstate and foreign commerce;
  • Make all laws which shall be necessary and proper;
  • The authority to investigate and oversee the executive branch and its’ agencies;
  • Holds hearings on matters of general public concern identifying problems that may create a need for new laws or hold hearings to raise public awareness on a particular issue.

In addition to the above powers, there are congressional powers that are rarely used, such as the ability to impeach an official and amending the Constitution.

The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch of government is made up of a court system where laws are interpreted and determined if the laws are constitutional. There are three different kinds of courts found in the federal court system. The lowest level is the district courts followed by the court of appeals and top level being the Supreme Court.

Some Major Duties Include:

  • In charge of the court system;
  • Has the right to overturn state laws and laws passed by Congress;
  • Interpreting federal laws;
  • Interpreting the U.S. Constitution;
  • Resolving legal disputes;
  • Trying criminal and civil cases;
  • Determining guilt or innocence, degree of responsibility, fault, etc.;
  • Imposing sentences and other legal punishment;
  • Protecting individual constitutional rights;
  • Managing the docket and judicial caseload;
  • Checking the power of the Legislative and Executive branches.

The Judiciary explains and applies the laws. This branch does this by hearing and eventually making decisions on various legal cases.

The Preamble to the United States Constitution states, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United StatLady Justice - Checks and Balance of our US Governmentes of America.”

The history of how our government came about with much care through the experience and hindsight of our founding forefathers. The established balance and separation of powers to ensure no branch of our government would ever become so powerful that it rules the People rather than serves the People.

Our government is of the People, by the People and for the People. Today, it is clear our Government has lost focus and purpose. The Government appears to be about “self-serving” than serving the “People”. Government officials are more concerned about their careers, benefits, wages and retirement than serving their constituents. They vote their own raises and have the Cadillac of insurance coverage at our expense. As a nation blessed with so many freedoms, it is time we Americans give back credibility to our United States of America. Let us not forget why America was formed… to protect us from the very situations that are occurring today.

Become involved; share your concerns with your Congressional leaders from your State. Hold members of Congress accountable for their actions and learn more about how lawmakers in your State are voting. To obtain your 9-digit zip code, go to Melissa Data for assistance.

Government Resource Links:
Open Congress
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Government for Kids
Branches of Government

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one
and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise
the other. You cannot serve God and money.”  ~Matthew 6:24

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