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015 Who is in charge of the executive branch?

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?
The President

Many people know who the president of the United States is, but what does the president do? The president is the person in charge of (or responsible for) the executive branch. The president’s main job is to be the commander-in-chief, which means that he or she commands, or is the top leader of, the United States armed forces (or military). As commander-in-chief, the president has the power to send troops (or soldiers) to fight overseas (or in another country) at any time, but he or she can’t officially declare (or decide on) a war without the approval (or agreement) of Congress.

The president is also known as the head of state. The head of any organization is the person who is in charge, and is the most important and powerful person in that organization. So as the head of state, the president is responsible for developing important relationships with leaders of other countries.

Another of the president’s powers is the ability to appoint (or choose) people to serve in the government. The most important people the president appoints are the members of his or her cabinet (or the group of people who give the president advice). The most powerful person in the president’s cabinet is the vice president. If the president dies or is unable to perform his responsibilities (or do his job) for any reason, the vice president must lead the country and its military.

The president has a lot of power, so there are some important requirements for the job. To become president, a person must be at least 35 years old, born in the United States, and must have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years. Once a president is elected (or chosen by the voters), his or her term of office (or the length of time that he or she has the job) is four years. A president cannot serve more than two terms, for a total of eight years. This term limit (or the maximum number of years that a person can be president) is established in the 22nd Amendment, which was added to the Constitution in 1951. This limit exists for the same reason that checks and balances exist: to make sure that no one person (in this case, the president) can wield (or hold or use) too much power in the government.


commander-in-chief – the person who leads a country's military (in the United States, this is the President)
* The President of the United States is always the country's commander-in-chief, even if he or she doesn't have any military experience.

armed forces – the military; the people and organizations who fight for a country, usually to protect it
* The U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard are all parts of the U.S. Armed Forces.

head of state – the most important political leader of a country
* The President of the United States usually welcomes other heads of state in a very formal ceremony.

cabinet – a group of people who give advice, information, and ideas to the U.S. president on many important issues
* How often does the President meet with his Cabinet members?

to perform (one's) responsibilities – to do one's job; to be able to do one's job
* Luis performs his responsibilities as store manager with patience and professionalism.

term of office – the length of time that a person has a job; the amount of time that someone is allowed to have a job
* The Chairman of the Board of Directors has a five-year term of office.

term limit – the maximum number of years that a person can work in a particular job
* U.S. Senators do not have a term limit, so they can be Senator for as long as they want to.

to wield – to hold or use
* The teacher wields his authority over the students very effectively and there are never any problems in his classroom.