Government Section 3.2


Describe the role of the president’s cabinet and classify the roles of different executive departments.


The President's cabinet includes the heads of the 15 executive branch departments. In addition to advising the President in various matters, these individuals also are the heads of their own departments and run them.

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The Department of State is responsible for developing and implementing the foreign policies of the United States. It represents the United States for the United Nations and to over 180 countries. This department works with citizens living abroad and foreign nations wanting entrance to the United States. This department also helps out with other things, such as countering international crime, providing aid to other countries, and promoting democracy and cultural exchanges.

The Department of Treasury manages the monetary resources of the country. It manufactures coins, regulates coins, and produces paper money. Within this department is the IRS, which collects money through taxes paid from American citizens and businesses. This department is responsible for making payments and borrowing any money needed to operate the federal government.

The Department of the Interior executes federal policy and programs to protect natural resources including public land and minerals. It supports research to protect different aspects of the environment. It issues recreation permits and leases to companies who use natural resources for energy, and also deals with a lot of the interests of Alaskan Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Native American people living in different territories within the United States.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) develops and executes policy in farming, agriculture, and food. It supports local farmers and ranchers, protects national forests, promotes agricultural trade, assures food safety, and provides nutrition assistance and programs to end hunger in American and abroad.

The Department of Justice enforces federal laws designed to protect public safety, reduce crime, punish those who break the law, enforce civil rights, and ensure justice for all Americans. It includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Civil Rights Division.

The Department of Commerce supports the economy by developing and executing policies to promote American businesses and industries. It promotes international trade agreements with other countries and issued patients, trademarks, and administers laws relating to scientific and technical standards, telecommunications, and technology.

The Department of Labor administers federal programs to protect and improve the productivity of workers. It addresses job training, minimum wage and overtime pay, employment discrimination, and unemployment insurance.

The Department of Defense protects the security of the United States. It consists of the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. This work is carried out by millions of active duty personnel. In addition to fighting wars and providing security, the DOD is involved in efforts to deter wars, assist in disasters, and provide humanitarian aid.

The Department of Health and Human Services is concerned with protecting public health and providing social services to those least able to support themselves. Medicare and Medicaid are involved with all of these things. It funds medical research to improve public health and prevent disease. It contains the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for national policies and programs that address America's housing needs, improve and develop communities, and enforce fair housing laws. It supports home ownership for lower and moderate income families through its mortgage and loan insurance programs.

The Department of Transportation develops policy and administers a variety of programs pertaining to transportation. Its programs oversee the nation's mass transit systems, railroads, bridges, and waterways. The FHWA runs programs that improve driver and pedestrian safety as well as minimalize distracted driving and DUIs. The FAA regulates air travel and works to ensure air safety.

The Department of Energy executes law and policies about the nations energy and constantly works to promote clean energy and a reliance on many different sources of energy. It also works to oversee the nation's nuclear energy and nuclear weapons programs.

The Department of Education provides assistance to public schools and private schools, collects data from many different schools and areas and helps to administer financial aid programs. It works with State and local governments in order to set curriculum and high standards for students.

The Department of Homeland Security coordinates national efforts to protect against acts of terrorism that would jeopardize the safety of the American people. If something does happen, they work to ensure quick and safe recovery to all involved.

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