Embedded in the Constitution of the United States are a series of checks and balances designed to keep any of the three branches of the federal government from becoming too powerful and potentially tyrannical. Specific checks and balances place limits on the authority of the Executive Branch, or the Office of the President.
On the Witness Stand
The Constitution gives the legislative branch -- the House of Representatives and the Senate -- the power to impeach and try the president for suspected "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." The power to impeach lies with the House, while the Senate holds the trial. If found guilty, the president may be removed from office.
It's the Law
If the president rejects, or vetoes, a bill passed by Congress, it can nonetheless become a law with a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. The Supreme Court can also declare a law unconstitutional, even if the president has signed it.
The Senate must confirm all of the president's departmental appointments, including members of his cabinet, as well as foreign ambassadors and replacements for the vice presidency. Moreover, while the president creates a federal budget, it must be approved by Congress, which can enact taxes and allocate funds to federal agencies and departments.
A Call to War
As commander-in-chief of the military, the president has the authority to command troops on the battlefield. Congress alone has the power to declare war on another country on behalf of the United States, however. The Senate must also approve all treaties meant to bring an end to military conflicts.
Election Plan B
If a presidential election ends without one candidate receiving the majority of the electoral college votes, it is up to the House of Representatives to choose the president, while the Senate votes to choose the vice president.
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