International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

In 1933, President F. D. Roosevelt used an executive agreement to recognize the government of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union gave assets of a Russian insurance company to the United States. The Court ruled that the executive agreement was part of executive authority and that the agreement superseded state law concerning the insurance company's property.

Whether the President exceeded his constitutional authority under an executive agreement was decided in Dames and Moore v. Ronald Reagan, 453 U.S. 654 ( 1981). This case involved the application of both executive agreements and executive orders to domestic courts (see executive order entry). In 1980, when Iran took American hostages at the American embassy in Tehran, Iran, President Jimmy Carter froze all Iranian assets in the United States. His action was taken under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). To obtain the release of the hostages, President Carter signed an executive agreement with Iran. This agreement included ending all legal proceedings against Iran in U.S. Courts. Presidents Carter and Reagan issued executive orders, which involved directives to federal government agencies to implement the executive agreement. One of the executive orders (no. 12294) "suspended all claims which may be presented to the United States Claims Tribunal." Dames and Moore Company claimed that President Reagan did not have the constitutional authority to impose claims settlement procedures by executive agreement. In Dames and Moore v. Reagan, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that the President had express congressional authority under IEEPA to take actions concerning a foreign country's property in the United States. If Congress authorizes presidential action or acquiesces in such behavior, then the President can enter into executive agreements without the advice and consent of Congress. Executive agreements assume that Congress cannot anticipate all possibilities concerning foreign events. According to Bernard Schwartz ( 1990), "The Dames and Moore case allows the U.S. President to take a broad delegation of Congressional power and act in similar and analogous situations. In the area of foreign relations, under the delegation doctrine, it is not necessary for Congress to specifically delegate authority" (p. 91). In this case, the Court supported the President's authority to enter into executive agreements that considered the claims of different nations.

Executive agreements give presidents substantial discretion and independence in foreign affairs. Presidential action under an executive agreement, which is based on congressional authorization or congressional acquiescence, places the President on firm constitutional grounds. Congress may disapprove an executive agreement, but this rarely occurs.

STEVEN PURO


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dames and Moore v. Ronald Reagan, 453 U.S. 654 ( 1981).

Edwards George C. III, 1980. Presidential Influence in Congress San Francisco: W. H. Freeman.

Fisher, Louis, 1978. The Constitution Between Friends: Congress, the President, and the Law. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Henkin, Louis, 1972. Foreign Affairs and the Constitution. Mineola, NY: Foundation Press.

Margolis, Lawrence, 1986. Executive Agreements and Presidential Power in Foreign Policy. New York: Praeger.

Nowak, John E., and Ronald Rotunda, 1991. Constitutional Law. 4th ed. St. Paul: West.

Schwartz, Bernard, 1990. The Ascent of Pragmatism: The Burger Court in Action. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Stanley, Howard W., and Richard G. Niemi, 1992. Vital Statistics on American Politics. 3d ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press.

Symposium, 1982. "Dames and Moore v. Reagan." UCLA Law Review, Vol. 29: 977-1159.

EXECUTIVE BUDGET. A budget proposal submitted to the legislature for resources prepared in the name of the chief executive of some governmental unit (town, county, state, or nation) that is designed to reflect that executive's policies, programs, and priorities. The budget request covers all resource requirements of executive branch agencies and activities. Budgeting requests of legislative and judicial branch organizations are usually appended to the executive budget without review or comment by the executive.


Politics and the Executive Budget

In the United States, the executive budget movement began at state and local government levels early in this century. An executive budget is currently used, in one variation or another, by 49 states (the exception is South Carolina) along with most county and local governments. The primary focus of this entry is at the (U.S.) national level, where the executive budget is generally referred to as "the President's Budget."

The federal government has utilized an executive budget since the passage of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. That law, in addition to mandating an annual executive budget submission, also established a central budget office called the Bureau of the Budget (BOB), which in 1970 was renamed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Accounting Office (GAO). The BOB was created as an executive branch agency to assist the President in budget preparation, and the GAO was established as a legislative branch agency to perform auditing duties for the U.S. Congress.

Prior to the passage of the 1921 legislation (42 Stat 18, 1921), each federal agency developed its own budget request for submission to Congress. The budget requests

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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