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The Executive Branch of the federal government affects the daily lives of every American citizen by virtue of the enormous power wielded by the nation's chief executive, the president of the United States, currently Barack Obama. Under the Constitution of the United States, the president has the authority to nominate individuals to oversee each of the large federal agencies that collectively comprise the Executive Branch, including the departments of State, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, and others, and it is these agencies that enforce the laws passed by Congress. In addition to enforcing laws, Executive Branch agencies also enforce the Executive Orders and Presidential Findings that chief executives frequently issue that carry the force of law.
The president also has the authority to nominate individuals to serve as judges in the vast federal judicial system, including the Supreme Court. While the U.S. Senate is vested under the constitution with the authority to confirm presidential appointments, the president's authority to nominate individuals to serve as federal justices is among his most important powers. Every American is directly affected by the decisions of the courts, especially of the Supreme Court.
While the decisions handed down by federal courts are important, the average American citizen is most likely to feel the daily influences of the Executive Branch in the context of taxes paid and services rendered. The federal government taxes incomes, which is felt every day by working Americans, and the revenue generated by these taxes funds such functions as education, health care, preservation of national parks, medical care for the elderly and indigent, the air traffic control system that enables the airlines industry to function, the armed forces that protect our nation from foreign enemies and the federal law enforcement agencies that investigate federal crimes like bank robbery and kidnapping and that track terrorist organizations within our borders. The U.S. Coast Guard protects American boaters while enforcing federal maritime laws. The Department of Commerce helps American companies employing millions of citizens market and sale their products in foreign countries.
The influences of the Executive Branch of government are not always felt on a daily basis, but those influences are there. The interstate highway system that connects American cities and towns from coast to coast is utilized by tens of millions of Americans every day, and that vast system of interconnected freeways was funded and its construction overseen by Executive Branch agencies of the federal government. In short, the Executive Branch consists of more than just the president and vice president. It consists of hundreds of thousands of individuals employed by many different agencies that are intricately involved in the daily lives of the citizenry.
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