Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
Section 3: Diplomatic and Military Powers
A treaty is negotiated by the President through the secretary of state.
The Senate must give its approval, by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
The Senate does not ratify treaties. Instead, the President ratifies it by the exchange of formal notifications with the other party or parties to the agreement.
An existing law may be repealed by the terms of a treaty.
An executive agreement is a pact between the President and the head of a foreign state.
It does not require Senate’s consent.
Most come from of legislation already passed by Congress or out of treaties to which the Senate has agreed.
The President can make them without any congressional action.
1. Provide examples of this statement: The President’s power of recognition can be used positively or negatively.
Positively: President Truman’s recognition of Israel, within hours of its creation in 1948, helped that new state to survive among its hostile Arab neighbors.
Negatively: The President may show American displeasure with the conduct of another country by asking for the recall of that nation’s ambassador or other diplomatic representatives in this country.
2. Why does the U.S. need to recognize China diplomatically even though it has abused human rights?
Because China is our country’s biggest trading partner and it has a great impact on our economy.
3. Under what circumstances might the President declare a country’s diplomat to be persona non grata?
The withdrawal of recognition is the sharpest diplomatic reprimand or disapproval one government may give to another and has often been a step on the way to war.
4. Which of the President’s powers is almost unlimited? Why?
As commander-in-chief, the president’s power is almost unlimited because he has control over the military without needing any congressional approval.
5. How has the Congress limited the president’s military powers?
Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
The resolution’s central provisions require that:
(1) Within 48 hours after committing American forces to combat abroad, the President must report to Congress, detailing the circumstances and the scope of his actions.
(2) A commitment of American forces to combat must end within 60 days, unless Congress agrees to a longer period. That 60-day deadline may be extended for up to 30 days, however, to allow for the safe withdrawal of the American forces involved.
(3) Congress may end the combat commitment at any time, by passing a concurrent resolution to that effect.
6. Interpret the following statement: “The purse and the sword must never be in the same hands.”
If the president controlled the budget (purse), his power would be hard to check if combined with his power over the military (sword). Congress can limit his executive power by controlling the military budget.
Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
Section 4: Legislative and Judicial Power
1. What are the president’s two major legislative powers?
Message power-The president may recommend legislation through his speeches and annual Economic Report.
Veto Power-The president may also veto a specific bill, which Congress can override with a two-thirds majority of the number of members present in both the Senate and the House when the override vote is taken.
2. What are the three messages that the president sends to the Congress annually?
State of the Union message, a speech he almost always delivers in person to a joint session of Congress.
Budget message and the annual Economic Report.
The President often sends the lawmakers a number of other messages that calls on Congress to enact those laws he thinks to be necessary to the welfare of the country.
3. What is a line-item veto? Why has the Supreme Court ruled against it?
It is the power reserved for the president to cancel specific dollar amounts (line items) in spending bills enacted by Congress.
The Court ruled that Congress lacked the authority to give the President a line-item veto by statute and that power can only be given to the president by an amendment to the Constitution.
4. Why do some people support line-item veto?
They claim that it is a potent weapon against wasteful and unnecessary federal spending.
5. Why is threat of a veto often enough to prompt changes in a bill?
Because Congress has rarely been able to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to overturn a presidential veto in the past.
6. List and explain the judicial powers of the president.
Reprieve-a postponement of the execution of a sentence imposed by a court.
Clemency-the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime itself. The act of clemency is also a form of reprieve.
Amnesty-the forgiveness of a group of law violators.
Commutation-to reduce the length of a sentence or fine imposed by a court.
Pardon-the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it.