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G-13: The Federal Bureaucracy. Chapter 13- The Federal Bureaucracy. (1). Define what a bureaucracy is, and summarize its key characteristics and its nature. (2). Examine the structure, organization, roles and tasks of the Federal Bureaucracy .

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G 13 the federal bureaucracy l.jpg

G-13: The Federal Bureaucracy

Chapter 13 the federal bureaucracy l.jpg

Chapter 13- The Federal Bureaucracy

  • (1). Define what abureaucracy is, and summarize its key characteristics and its nature.

  • (2). Examine the structure, organization, roles and tasks of the Federal Bureaucracy.

  • (3). Examine the President’s Cabinet and discuss their key departmental responsibilities.

  • (4). Contrast the diverse functions of the Executive Departments, Independent

    Regulatory Commissions, Government Corporations, andIndependentAgencies.

  • (5). Contrast the key tasks of rule administration, rule making, and rule adjudication.

  • (6). Examine the development & growth of the Bureaucracy’s power and responsibilities.

  • (7). Outline how the Federal Personnel System has evolved and changed, and discuss the

    spoils system, patronageand the Civil Service System and its attempted reforms.

  • (8). Examine the Federal Bureaucracy'spolitical character, goals, and resources.

  • (9). Outline the ways that Congress, the President, Interest Groups, and other agencies

    place constraints on the Federal Bureaucracy.

  • (10). Explain the "iron triangle" theory and contrast it with the rise of issue networks.

  • (11). Assess the recent efforts to reform or "reinvent" the Federal Bureaucracy.

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5. Hierarchy

What is a Bureaucracy?

Government agencies that implement Gov. policies

4. “Professionalization”

Weber’s Five Characteristics of Bureaucracy

3. Formality

2. Record-keeping

1. Specialization

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Structure & Tasks of Federal Bureaucracy(TheExecutive Branch)



(The Cabinet)



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Four Types of Federal Agencies

  • 1. Executive Departments

    • Cabinet Heads appointed by the president

    • Confirmed by Senate with its advice & consent

  • 2. Independent Regulatory Commissions

    • Small commissions w/greater independence

    • Fix terms – can only be fired “for cause”

  • 3. Government Corporations

    • Government companies that serve Public for fee

    • Suppose to be self supporting (examples?) *

    • Insurance (FDIC), Energy (TVA), Comms (PO), Trans (AMTRAC)

  • 4. Independent Agencies

    • Not part of Executive Department w/sub-cabinet rank

    • NASA, EPA, CIA

    • All heads serve at Pleasure of President

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What kind of Departments or Agencies are these?









Health &

Human Svs

Housing &

Urban Dev.








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What kind of Federal Agencies are these?










Archives &


*Exception: Cabinet Rank (Since Clinton Administration)

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What kind of Federal Agencies are these?

















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What kind of Federal Agencies are these?

Postal Service










Corp. for National &



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The Tasks of the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Bureaucracies Perform Three Functions:

  • 1. Rule Administration

    • Administer ?_______ of public policy

    • Core bureaucratic function

  • 2. Rule Making*

    • Put general ?_______ into Federal Regulations

    • Develop new rules as required

  • 3. Rule Adjudication

    • Determine if & when the rules have been ?__________ or ?__________

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Federal Government Rule Making (1940-2004)

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Development of Federal BureaucracyConstitutional Foundations

  • Role of Congress & the President:

    • Share powers to devise & operate Bureaucracy

    • President’s power to appoint & ensure laws executed

    • Power of Congress to create, and advise & consent

  • Federal Bureaucracy => Constitutional hybrid

    • Created by Congress & Directed by the President

    • Therefore: Federal Bureaucracy is accountable to both

  • Has the Federal Bureaucracy grown over the years?

    • Answer: ?__________ *

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Civilian Federal Employees 1820-2003

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Federal Government Growth (1820-2003):Per Capita Spending vs. People Employed

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Growth of the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Chart (Figure 13-4)* illustrated (from 1890):

    • Steady Federal growth to 1945 highpoint (3.8M)

    • Steep growth began between 1931=> 1945 (why?)

      • Administer ?__________ & manage ?__________

  • Per capita growth & spending (Figure 13-5)*shows:

    • As US population grew (now at about 300 Million) =>

    • Federal spending per person grew significantly, while…

    • Federal Bureaucrats actually employed declined

  • Bottom Line:

    • Federal Bureaucracy now spending & doing more per person (per capita) w/less federal employees to do it

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Expanding Functions of the FederalBureaucracy

  • Four major categories of Federal functions:

    • 1. National ?__________

    • 2. Clientele ?__________

    • 3. Regulation of ?__________ Sector

    • 4. Income ?__________

Let’s look at these major Federal functions in greater detail.

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National ?__________

  • Early Federal Government Functions & Responsibilities primarily limited to:

    • Collect tax revenue

    • Defend the Nation

    • Conduct foreign relations

    • Enforce Federal laws

    • Promote internal communications

  • Which Government Departments & Agencies administered these functions?*

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Early Federal Departments & Government Responsibilities

?__________ Department

?__________ Department

?__________ Department


Post Office

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1. Clientele Services(mid-19th century)

  • Serve special needs of influential Interest Groups

  • Agencies created to serve clients’ special interest

Department of


Bureau of


*Bureau of Labor => later: Dept of Commerce and Labor

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Client Service Needs of 20th Century

  • 1930s=> Great Depression=> FDR’s New Deal:

    • Federal Activism and Bureaucracy expands:

Department of

Health, Education, and


1960s=> War on Poverty=> LBJ’s Great Society:

Department of

Housing and Urban


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More Government Bureaucracy Created during the 20th Century

  • All formed to address other client’s needs

Department of


Department of


Department of

Veteran’s Affairs

Department of


Latest edition to Federal Bureaucracy?*

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Department of ?_________ _______


*( Formerly


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3. Regulation of Private Sector

  • Responsibility for regulating American economy

    • Federal Agencies established included:

    • ICC, Federal Reserve, Federal Trade Commission

  • In 1960s focus expanded to Regulate Society

    • AKA: Social Regulation

    • Examples: EPA, OSHA

  • What’s the fourthcategory of the Federal Bureaucracy's expanding functions?*

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4. ?__________ Redistribution

  • Agencies were also formed to re-distribute economic benefits

    • Shift $$$ either directly or indirectly to different sectors

    • Direct payments made to elderly or poor individuals:

      • Social Security =>the elderly & AFDC (to minors)

  • Some programs even transfer $$$ to wealthy:

    • Dept of Agriculture programs benefit wealthy farmers

    • Social Security (SS) payments also to wealthy retirees

      • Bill Gates will get the maximum payment made by SS

  • Income Redistribution not always a one way street

    • (i.e. only from rich to poor)

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Federal Bureaucracy’s Personnel SystemA History of Change… (1789-1829)

“Government by Gentleman”

Political appointees were generally

recruited from the educated elite class.

(A Calling or Duty in service to the Nation)

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Changes in Fed Bureaucracy’s Personnel System (1829-1883)

The “Spoils System”

Appointees of the President replace the previous President’s appointees.

Government jobs =“spoils of war”

Spoils Systemfirst associated with whose Administration?

Spoils System is also known as?*

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The practice of rewarding partisan supporters with government jobs. (AKA:spoils system)

Strong support for PatronageorSpoils Systemlasted until late 1800s when what happened in 1881?

Garfield assassinated: Congressional reaction in response?

Pendleton Act of 1883(from 10% then => 80+% now)

Signaled beginning of what systembased on what?

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Civil ?__________& “?__________” (1883-present)

  • Major changes to Federal hiring ensued:

    • Competence for job stressed

    • Political affiliation & political loyalty not a requirement for getting hired (at least in theory)

    • “What you know” more important than “who you know”

Civil Servants ranked and paid IAW “General Schedule Classification System” or “GS” rankings

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Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

  • President Carter initiated major reforms to Civil Service

  • Reorganized agencies that oversee civil service in order to eliminate previous conflicts of interests:

    • Office of Personnel Management (Gov. interest)

    • Merit System Protection Board (Protect employee)

  • Also created the Senior Executive Service(SES)

    • Allows high level civil servants to move into other vacant policy making positions.

  • Remains a “work in progress” (NA to Homeland Security)

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Politics of the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Theory versus Reality:

  • Theory: political neutrality & competence

    • (Based on 19th century social theory of Max Weber)

    • Bureaucracy mechanically implement laws & policies

    • Always act in Public’s best interest

  • Above theory is the traditional (mythological) view of how the Government Bureaucracy works as illustrated in the following model*

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Traditional View of Government




Formulate Policy

Role of Bureaucracy?

The Reality?


?__________ that Policy

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Political Character of the Federal Bureaucracy- The Reality:

  • Reality:Inherently ?__________ institutions

    • Translate principles & goals=> concrete programs

    • Take board policies & laws => detailed regulations

    • Range of Discretion => and conflicting guidance

    • President vs. Congress intentions often compete

  • Result: Bureaucracy serves two masters

    • Can Play one off the other (depending on own agenda)

    • Exercises discretion => freedom to shape own rules

    • Usually made consistent with their own best interests

    • With Belief: what’s good for them is good for the USA

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Key Goals of the Federal Bureaucracy

Two Key Goals:





The desire bureaucrats have to see the agency they work for grow and prosper

The policy objectives that justify the creation and existence of an agency

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Potential Threats to those Goals

  • Various Potential threats include:

    • Conflict & competition with other political actors:

      • Congress & The President (EOP)

      • Other Federal Agencies & Interests Groups

      • State & local governments

  • “Lifeblood” of bureaucracy?

    • Political ?__________

      • (A zero/sum game in Washington arena)

    • Constant competition for power, influence, & growth

  • What are the Political Resources available to the Federal Bureaucracy to counter these threats?

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Political Resources of Federal Bureaucracy

  • 1. Administrative ?__________

  • 2.?__________ Support

  • 3. Agency ?__________

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Political power throughrule makingprocedures.The use of rules to reflect an agency’s view of the public good.

Power how to shape & administer policy

(EPA=> strict or lax enforcement of regulations)

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Clientele are the recipients of the services a government agency's programs provide.

The power an agency exercises depends heavily on the power of its clientele.

  • Example: DOD versus DOS=> who’s most likely to win?

  • Domestic vs. foreign clients & the captive agency

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Agency ?__________

Agencies gain power from the expertisetheir employees develop.

Expertise isspecialized knowledgeacquired through work experience or training and education.

Critical factors affecting value of expertise:

Extent that agency is only one with the expertise

Size of the knowledge gap with other “experts”

Example: NASA (Space) versus DOS (foreign policy)

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Differences in Agency Power

  • Mission & survival goals affected by all three:

    • Agency Discretion, Clientele Support, & Expertise

  • Strong clients, great expertise, more knowledge =

    • More say & therefore more power =

    • Expanded mission & bigger budget ($$)

    • More likely to survive at other agencies’ expense

  • All affect status & pecking order in Washington

    • DOD more powerful than DOS

    • Both more powerful than DOT & DOE

    • And so on down the Cabinet “pecking order”

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Examine in greater detail*

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Political Constraints on the Federal Bureaucracy: The Congress

  • Congress=> Article I: enumerated powers:

    • Create => also implies: modify or abolish

    • Determine Bureaucracy’s structure & responsibility

    • Appropriate funds to accomplish responsibilities

  • Congress implied powers:

    • Oversight (GAO & CRS)

  • Committee & Sub-committee’s role

    • Budget authorization & appropriation for programs

  • Interest Group's influence on Congress

    • Can be significant=> motivating Congress to act

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Political Constraints on the Federal Bureaucracy: The President

  • President => IAW interpretation of Article II:

    • In addition to Enumeratedalso hasimplied powers

  • Key examples of Presidential Power:

    • See that all laws arefaithfully executed

    • Appointment powers=> influence who heads agency

    • Shape how his policies are implemented by the agency

    • Can offer Budget proposals & legislation to Congress

    • Power of the veto threat

    • Power to reorganize structure & reassign functions

    • OMB=> clear all new agency regulations

  • Presidents do have power to compel compliance

    • If willing to spend the time to follow up

    • Time presidents simply don’t have

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Political Constraints on the Federal Bureaucracy: Interest Groups, The Courts & Other Agencies

  • Interest Groups=> options available for relief:

    • Turn to President (EOP), Congress, or The Courts

  • Other Agencies=> overlapping responsibilities

    • On-going competition for power & influence

    • FBI vs. CIA vs. DOS vs. DOD

      • Impact: check & balance power of the other

  • The Courts=> can placelegal constraints

    • Politically immune during deliberations

    • Determine if rules exceed authority or not lawful

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Alliances and the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Iron ?_________* (Figure 13-6)*

    • Effective when interest & impact are very narrow

    • Downside: narrow interests that benefit the few

    • Taxpayers (Public) pay for these special benefits

    • Highly undemocratic => last minute riders or earmarks on Bills

  • ?_______ Networks => (offset above influences)

    • Create range of competing positions on an issue

    • Tends to offset narrow interests of iron triangles

    • Agency & Congress respond to all potential voters

      • Result: dampens special interest’s influence

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Iron Triangles

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Reinventing the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Americans negative perception of federal government

    • Wasteful & inefficient (Red Tape)

  • Politicians efforts to change government red tape

    • Clinton & Gore (National Performance Review)

    • Previous commissions created in past to do same thing:

      • Grace Commissions (Reagan Administration) => result?

    • Recent post 9/11 trend: organizational changes:

      • Homeland Security established (Effectiveness? – control of FEMA?)

  • Usual result? (mixed at best) => why?

    • Conflicting ?_________ & ?_________for all affected:

      • Agency’s survival goals& bureaucratic self interest

      • Interest Group (Public & clients) demands (often in conflict)

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Next Week’s Assignment- Week 11

  • Text- Chapter 14: The Courts

    • Review Article III of Constitution

    • Note: Quiz next Wednesday on Key Terms (Part III)

  • Continue to prepare for Test II: Key Terms

    • Review Key Terms in context of Chapters 11-14 Learning Objectives

    • Test II administered a week from next Monday

      • Class 12a

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Chapter 13: Key Terms

  • Advice and consent: Refers to the provision in Article II of the Constitution that requires the president to gain the Senate’s approval of appointees to a variety of government positions.

  • Bureaucracy: In general usage, the set of government agencies that carries out government policies. The bureaucracy is characterized by formalized structures, specialized duties, a hierarchical system of authority, routine record keeping, and a permanent staff.

  • Bureaucrats: A term used generally to identify anyone who works within a large, formal organization. More specifically, it refers to career civil service employees of the government.

  • Cabinet: An informal designation that refers to the collective body of individuals appointed by the president to head the executive departments. The cabinet can, but rarely does, function as an advisory body to the president.

  • Civil service: The method by which most government employees have been hired, promoted, and fired since the 1880s. Personnel decisions are based on merit, or the competence of the individual to do the job, rather than the individual’s political loyalties.

  • Clientele: The recipients of the services a government agency’s programs provide.

  • Expertise: Specialized knowledge acquired through work experience or training and education.

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Chapter 13: Key Terms(2)

  • Iron triangles: The alliance of a government agency, congressional committee or subcommittee, and political interest group for the purpose of directing government policy within the agency’s jurisdiction to the mutual benefit of the three partners.

  • Issue networks: A loose collection of groups or people in and out of government who interact on a policy issue on the basis of their interest and knowledge rather than just on the basis of economic interests.

  • Patronage: The practice of rewarding partisan supporters with government jobs. Also known as the spoils system.

  • Rule adjudication: Determining whether an agency’s rules have been violated.

  • Rule administration: The core function of the bureaucracy—to carry out the decisions of Congress, the president, or the courts.

  • Rule making: Formulating the rules for carrying out the programs a bureaucratic agency administers.

  • Spoils system: The method used to hire and fire government employees during most of the 1800s. Government employees of the new president’s choosing would replace those a previous president had appointed. Government jobs were the “spoils” (or rewards) of the electoral “wars.” This system was also known as patronage.

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Back-up Slide

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Presidents and the Federal Bureaucracy

  • Cannot command obedience of Federal agencies=>

    • Must bargain & persuade to comply w/agenda

  • Presidential resources to pressure bureaucracy behavior

    • Appointment power- heads of agencies

    • Budget making power- cut or increase $$$

    • Authority to reorganize structure & duties

    • Executive order

  • Presidents have power to compel compliance w/wishes

    • If willing to spend the time to follow up

    • Time presidents simply don’t have

    • Must move on to more pressing issues

    • Agencies & departments know this fact

    • Feather pillow analogy of FDR with The “Naaavy” (WWI)

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