Fourth Branch of government The executive bureaucracy is sometimes called the Fourth Branch of Government. What does that designation imply about the federal bureaucracy? It implies that the bureaucracy is important and has independent power.
Bureaucracy • The bureaucracy is important. The federal government has 2.7 million civilian employees who administer a budget of $3.5 trillion. • At least to some degree, the bureaucracy has independent power. Does the cartoonist have a negative or positive view of government workers?
Two bosses The bureaucracy has two bosses. Who are they? Does having two bosses necessarily mean that the bureaucracy is held more accountable? Bureaucracy is not necessarily more accountable because it can play one boss off against the other. The two bosses are Congress and the president.
Bureaucracy and Democracy A challenge of democracy is to make the bureaucracy accountable to the people.
Haphazard Organizational Scheme • The Constitution is silent as to the executive bureaucracy. • Congress has created the various departments and agencies of the executive branch through the legislative process.
Cabinet departments The cabinet departments are the major administrative units of the federal government that have responsibility for the conduct of a wide range of government operations. Can you name some? State, Defense, Treasury, Justice, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Transportation, Education, etc.
Size of Departments The largest departments in terms of personnel are Defense and Veterans' Affairs. In 2008, the Department of Defense had 682,000 civilian employees; the Department of Veterans' Affairs employed 265,000 workers. In contrast, 4,210 employees worked for the Department of Education, the smallest department.
Departments have subunits The Department of Homeland Security includes Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service, and Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Department Heads What are the heads of the cabinet departments called (with one exception)? What is the exception? Agency heads are called secretaries except for the head of the Department of Justice who is the attorney general. Who is pictured and what does the photo caption writer think of her?
Political appointees The president appoints the heads of the cabinet departments and their chief assistants, who are called undersecretaries, deputy under-secretaries, and assistant secretaries, pending Senate confirmation. Who is this guy? Eric Holder, the attorney general
Permanent government • Does Mr. Holder have a term of office? • When, at the latest, would he be expected to leave his position? • People who are not political appointees are part of the permanent government. What does that phrase mean?
Confirmation process Although the Senate confirms most presidential appointments, the approval process has grown increasingly time-consuming. The average time between presidential nomination and Senate confirmation for executive branch appointees has increased to nine months for individuals nominated by President George W. Bush. More than 170 nominees remained unconfirmed two years after President Obama took office.
The cabinet The heads of the cabinet departments are all part of the president's cabinet, which is a body that includes the executive department heads and other senior officials chosen by the president, such as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Independent executive agencies Congress and the president have created a number of executive branch agencies that are not part of any of the 15 cabinet-level departments, hence the designation independent executive agencies. • EPA • Peace Corps • NASA • CIA • SBA • SSA Environmental Protection Agency Central Intelligence Agency Small Business Administration Social Security Administration
Structure Independent executive agencies are headed by individual administrators (NASA administrator, director of the CIA, etc.). They are appointed by the president, pending confirmation by the Senate. The heads of independent executive agencies report directly to the president and serve at the president's pleasure.
Political pecking order What sort of agency would you prefer to be? • Cabinet level department? • An agency that is part of a cabinet level department? • An independent executive agency? 1 3 2
FEMA FEMA was originally an independent executive agency and was considered well run. In 2003, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security and made FEMA part of it. FEMA was still in organizational disarray when Katrina struck.
Heck of a Job, Brownie After Jame Lee Witt, Clinton’s FEMA director, resigned, President George W. Bush appointed Michael Brown. Brown had no experience in emergency preparedness.
Government corporations Government corporations are organizationally similar to private corporations except that the government owns them rather than stockholders. Their organizational rationale is that an agency that makes a product or provides a service should be run by methods similar to those used in the private sector. • U.S. Postal Service • AMTRAK • FDIC AMTRAK is a passenger rail service. FDIC insures bank deposits against loss or theft. What is AMTRAK? What is FDIC?
US Postal Service Why is the U.S. Postal Service facing a financial crisis? What can it do to address the crisis? Should Congress subsidize post offices in rural areas with general tax revenues? Should people living in out-of-the-way places pay more for postal service?
AMTRAK Should Congress subsidize AMTRAK out of general tax revenues or allow it to go out of business?
Foundations and institutes Foundations and institutes administer grant programs to local governments, universities, nonprofit institutions, and individuals for research in the natural and social sciences or to promote the arts. • The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a federal agency established to encourage scientific advances and improvements in science education. • The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a federal agency created to nurture cultural expression and promote appreciation of the arts.
Independent regulatory commissions An independent regulatory commission is an agency outside the major executive departments that is charged with the regulation of important aspects of the economy. • FTC • FCC • SEC • EEOC Federal Trade Commission Federal Communications Commission Securities and Exchange Commission Equal Opportunity Employment Commission
independent Congress has attempted to insulate independent regulatory commissions from direct political pressure, especially from the White House. • Headed by boards of three to seven members • Appointed by president with Senate confirmation • Serve fixed terms, so the president can’t remove them • No more than bare majority can be from the same political party
regulatory Congress has delegated authority to these agencies to regulate particular segments of the economy in the public interest.
EEOC Congress has empowered the EEOC "to prevent any person from engaging in any unlawful employment practice."
Consumer product safety commission The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent regulatory commission that protects "against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products."
Federal Personnel The size of the federal civilian bureaucracy has grown dramatically since the early days of the nation. In 1800, only about 3,000 persons worked for the U.S. government. That figure grew to 95,000 by 1881 and half a million in 1925. Today, 2.7 million civilian employees are stationed in every state and city in the country and almost every nation in the world. What attitude does the cartoonist have about government employees?
Did the decline in the number of federal employees coincide with a shrinking of the federal budget? OMG, NO!
True size of the bureaucracy Political scientist Paul C. Light estimates that the true size of the federal civilian workforce is 14.6 million employees instead of the 2.7 million on the official payroll. Congress and the president are playing a shell game to disguise the size of the federal government. • Contract workers • State and local government employees working on federally funded programs • Federal grant beneficiaries at colleges and universities
Spoils system The method of hiring government employees from among the friends, relatives, and supporters of elected officeholders was known as the spoils system. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the spoils system? The spoils system is great if you control the spoils because you can hire your friends, relatives, and supporters. From a good policy perspective, it is bad because many of these people may be unqualified.
Pendleton Act When a disgruntled office seeker assassinated President James Garfield in 1881, Congress passed and the president signed the Pendleton Act. It created a Civil Service Commission to establish a hiring system based on competitive examinations and protect federal workers from dismissal for political reasons.
Hatch act In 1939, Congress enacted another reform, the Hatch Act, which was a measure designed to restrict the political activities of federal employees to voting and the private expression of views. Who was the Hatch Act designed to protect? It was designed to protect workers from being forced to perform political work for their bosses.
Criticisms of the civil service system • Inflexible • Fails to reward merit • Fails to punish poor performance • Too difficult to transfer workers from agency to agency What does the cartoonist think about government employees?
Senior executive service (SES) In 1978, Congress and the president responded to complaints against the civil service system by establishing a Senior Executive Service (SES) composed of approximately 8,000 top civil servants who would be eligible for substantial merit bonuses but who could be transferred, demoted, or fired more easily than other federal employees.
Collective bargaining Congress and the president have given federal employees limited rights to organize. Federal workers have the right to bargain collectively over a limited set of issues but not pay and benefits. Collective bargaining is a negotiation between an employer and a union representing employees over the terms and conditions of employment.
Air traffic controllers In 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers for participating in a strike organized by the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Association (PATCO).
Democrats and Republicans Democratic administrations have a positive relationship with federal worker unions. Clinton ordered agencies to develop partnership councils with employee unions. Republican administrations have a hostile relationship with federal worker unions. They favor pay-for-performance and want to make it easier to fire employees for poor performance. Republican members of Congress want to cut spending by reducing the pay of federal workers.
Congress delegates authority Independent regulatory commissions and many agencies in the executive branch have regulatory authority. When Congress passes regulatory legislation, it frequently delegates authority to the bureaucracy to make rules to implement the legislation. • A rule is a legally binding regulation. • Rulemaking is the regulatory process used by government agencies to enact legally binding regulations.
Clean Air Act The Clean Air Act requires that the EPA adopt rules to protect the public from exposure to contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health.
EPA and Climate Change In 2009, the EPA formally declared that greenhouse gases jeopardize the public health, thus paving the way for the eventual adoption of regulations designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions from refineries, chemical facilities, and power plants. If Congress won’t address climate change, then the EPA will.
Healthcare reform The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the new healthcare reform law, requires various government agencies to adopt hundreds of rules to implement its provision.
Implementing Healthcare Reform The latest controversy in the culture wars involves the application of federal standards for health insurance policies provided by employers. The issue is whether hospitals and schools affiliated with the Catholic Church should have to include contraceptive services in the insurance policies they provide their employees.
Rulemaking process • An agency gives notice that it is considering a rule in a particular policy area. • The agency publishes the text of the proposed rule in the Federal Register and allows a period of time at least 30 days long in which the public can comment on the proposed rule. • Concerned parties, usually interest groups, affected by the proposed rule, submit written comments or offer testimony at public hearings. • When an agency officially adopts a rule, it is published in the Code of Federal Regulations.