The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions

The political system of the U.S. is a federal presidential republic that consists of fifty states and the Federal district of Columbia consisting of 50 States. Congress is the highest legislative body and is separated into the House of Representatives and the Senate. President embodies executive power and is the head of the government, and the state, and the commander in chief of the armed forces. The current paper examines Congress and the Office of the President. It also discusses how activities of these two branches of the government compare with the initial intentions of the U.S. founders.

Since the President is the head of the state and the government, his powers are different from one of Congress. According to the U.S. Constitution (art. II, §1), the President is the executive authority, the commander in chief of the U.S. navy, armed forces, and militia of some states. The Constitution empowers the head of the country to “make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur”, appoint ministers, ambassadors, consuls, and judges of the Supreme Court (the U.S. Constitution, art. II, §2). Since 1787, when the Constitutional Convention was invented, the President was granted more power. In different historical periods, it was presidents who decided on issues of foreign policy. Besides, the invention of new communication technologies has also facilitated the strengthening and expansion of presidential power (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019). Congress, in its part, represents a legislative branch of the government. Article I of the U.S. Constitution enables it to make laws, declare wars, impeach federal officers, endorse presidential appointments, borrow money from other nations on behalf of the U.S., and lay taxes and collect them.

As it has already been mentioned, Congress consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate that are the two chambers of this lawmaking body. Congress possesses “enumerated, implied, and inherent powers” granted by the Constitution (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019, p. 440). The Senate and the House are responsible for lawmaking in the different spheres. For instance, the House is in charge of education, labor, homeland security, and house administration, while the Senate does not have committees for these issues. However, the latter includes boards for urban affairs, science, transportation, and environment and public works. Both chambers are answerable for the budget, finance, agriculture, foreign affairs, appropriations, and armed services (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019). In sum, 535 officials are elected for the work in Congress; 100 members belong to the Senate and the rest of 435 – to the House (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019). The Senate is headed by the majority leader, while the head of the House is the Speaker, who, in most cases, presides the majority party (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019). Currently, Republican Mitch McConnell heads the Senate and Democrat Nancy Pelosi – the House of Representatives.

In order not to let the national government have too much power, it was separated into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. As it has been mentioned in the paragraphs above, the President performs executive duties, Congress – legislative and the Supreme Court – judicial ones. Such a separation represents the system of checks and balances in the government. Congress has a lawmaking function; however, it is only in the power of the Supreme Court to enforce laws and “try cases arising under federal law” (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019, p. 53). From this, it could be inferred that Congress is permitted to pass laws, but the President has the ability to veto possible legislation so that it could not turn into law. For example, on May 6, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump has vetoed Iran War Powers Resolution, which was aimed at the termination of the usage of American military forces against this nation.

Bills become rights in the result of the classic legislative process, which includes such stages as making a draft, several rounds of debates and amendments, committee work, final approval, and publication. A bill is discussed in the appropriate committees, then it is submitted to the floor of the chamber where it could be either voted down or passed. In the latter case, a bill undergoes one more round of debates and voting. Finally, the two chambers have to adopt their collective vision of a future law (Krutz & Waskiewicz, 2019). Therefore, a bill passes through numerous criticisms and changes so that the final act suits the visions of representatives of different social groups and political parties.

Finally, the answer to the question of whether the current activities of the President and Congress suit the initial beliefs of the founding fathers of the U.S is definite. According to Paul (2015, p. 114), Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, were afraid that “the overweening grasp of the state” could pose a danger to the rights of the citizens. They wanted the government to be limited in power through a system of checks and balances. The separation of the government into three branches represents such a framework within which Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court are obliged to consider each other’s opinions. Apart from the examples mentioned above, there are numerous cases that illustrate the actual work of the system of checks and balances. For instance, four years ago, ex-President Obama vetoed the ability of 9/11 victims to file a lawsuit to Saudi Arabia. However, a two-thirds vote in Congress allowed to override this prohibition. Consequently, the government indeed cannot seize power since it is divided among the three branches.


  1. Krutz, G., & Waskiewicz, S. (2019). American Government (2nd ed.). Texas, TX: OpenStax.
  2. Paul, F. E. (2015). Property Rights and Eminent Domain. London, England: Routledge. U.S. Const. art. I, II.

Cite this paper

Select style


DemoEssays. (2022, February 16). The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions. Retrieved from


DemoEssays. (2022, February 16). The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions.

Work Cited

"The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions." DemoEssays, 16 Feb. 2022,


DemoEssays. (2022) 'The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions'. 16 February.


DemoEssays. 2022. "The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions." February 16, 2022.

1. DemoEssays. "The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions." February 16, 2022.


DemoEssays. "The U.S. Government: Structure and Functions." February 16, 2022.