One of three sections of the U.S. government, the executive branch consists of the president, vice president and 15 cabinet members. The president appoints cabinet members, subject to congressional approval.
The president of the United States is the leader of the country and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is responsible for administering and enforcing laws passed by Congress and appoints members of the cabinet, leaders of the federal agencies and federal and Supreme Court justices. The cabinet consists of the following departments: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs.
The vice president is a member of the cabinet, the president of the U.S. Senate and the instant successor to the presidency if the president can no longer serve due to death, temporary incapacitation or removal from office. In modern times, the presidential candidate picks his vice president, and they run for office together. Prior to the passage of the 12th amendment of the Constitution in 1804, presidential and vice presidential contenders ran separately. The Electoral College voted only for the president, and the candidate with the second highest votes became vice president.