Magazine article Techniques

CAPITOL VIEW: The Role of the Administration in the Policy Making Process

Magazine article Techniques

CAPITOL VIEW: The Role of the Administration in the Policy Making Process

Article excerpt

Think back for a moment to your high school American government class. One of the main things I remember is the idea of checks and balances. As we all learned, the U.S. Government operates under a "separation of powers" structure, with each branch of government having different authorities in federal law. The Constitution created three distinct branches of government: Legislative (Congress), Executive (President and Administration) and Judicial (Supreme Court and federal judiciary). Generally, the separation of powers requires that Congress "enact" the laws, the Administration "execute" the laws and the Supreme Court "interpret" the laws.

In reality, the lines are not that clearly drawn, and Congress and the Administration often work together on policy development, enactment and execution. While Congress receives most of the attention as we work to promote positive federal policies for career and technical education, the Administration plays an important role as well and deserves a closer look.

Key players in the Administration include the President, the White House offices, and the various departments and agencies. The White House works in coordination with these offices and departments to propose a federal budget and spending priorities each year and suggests legislation to Congress. The Office of Management and Budget, part of the White House, oversees the President's budget request and makes recommendations about program funding throughout the year.

While the Office of Management and Budget deals more with the economics of the federal budget, the departments and agencies handle the programmatic issues and work on the implementation of programs that Congress passes. The departments that work most closely with programs related to career and technical education include the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. The Department of Education includes 10 program offices, with the Office of Vocational and Adult Education overseeing legislation related to career and technical education. Within the Department of Labor, the Employment and Training Administration plays the role of overseeing workforce development legislation, such as the Workforce Investment Act

While the Administration does release a budget request each February and policy proposals and priorities throughout the year, the decision whether to consider these bills or any others is always left to the majority party in Congress. …

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