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The Presidency


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budget deficit
A situation in which the government spends more money than it takes in from taxes and fees.
budget resolution
A proposal submitted by the House and Senate budget committees to their respective chambers recommending a total budget ceiling and a ceiling for each of several spending areas (such as health or defense) for the current fiscal year. These budget resolutions are intended to guide the work of each legislative committee as it decides what to spend in its area.
budget surplus
A situation in which the government takes in more money than it spends.
cabinet
By custom, the cabinet includes the heads of the 15 major executive departments.
circular structure
A method of organizing a president’s staff in which several presidential assistants report directly to the president.
cluster structure
A system for organizing the White House in which a group of subordinates and committees all report to the president directly.
continuing resolution
A congressional enactment that provides funds to continue government operations in the absence of an agreed-upon budget.
executive privilege
A presidential claim that he may withhold certain information from Congress.
impeachment
An accusation against a high federal official charging him or her with “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” An impeachment requires a majority vote in the House of Representatives. To be removed from office, the impeached official must be tried before the Senate and convicted by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.
legislative veto
The rejection of a presidential or administrative-agency action by a vote of one or both houses of Congress without the consent of the president. In 1983, the Supreme Court declared the legislative veto to be unconstitutional.
line-item veto
The power of an executive to veto some provisions in an appropriations bill while approving others. The president does not have the right to exercise a line-item veto and must approve or reject an entire appropriations bill.
pocket veto
One of two ways for a president to disapprove a bill sent to him by Congress. If the president does not sign the bill within 10 days of his receiving it and Congress has adjourned within that time, the bill does not become law.
pyramid structure
A method of organizing a president’s staff in which most presidential assistants report through a hierarchy to the president’s chief of staff.
signing statements
Written comments by the president about a bill he has just signed. Those that raise constitutional questions are controversial.
trial balloon
Information provided to the media by an anonymous public official as a way of testing the public reaction to a possible policy or appointment.
veto message
One of two ways for a president to disapprove a bill sent to him by Congress. The veto message must be sent to Congress within 10 days after the president receives the bill.
executive order
an order having the force of law issued by the president of the U.S. to the army, navy, or other part of the executive branch of the government.