What Is the Executive Branch Made up Of?

The Executive Branch includes the President’s office, the Vice President’s office, the office of the First Lady, federal departments, independent agencies, boards and commissions. There are 15 federal agencies within the executive branch, including the Department of Labor, the Department of Defense and Department of Education. Over 60 standing boards and commissions are also in the Executive Branch.

The President is the leader of the Executive Branch. The President must approve final policy decisions from each of the departments, agencies, boards and commissions. The President has the power to appoint new boards and commissions on any matter without the approval of another branch of government. Under the President are the Vice President and the leaders of the Cabinet. The Cabinet consists of the department heads within the federal executive branch. Internal agencies within each department report to these department heads.

Quasi-independent agencies also fall under the purview of the President and the Executive Branch. These agencies exert more freedom in decision making. The Federal Reserve, for instance, is a quasi-independent agency that ultimately answers to the President but also makes independent policy decisions, such as interest rates and inflationary measures. There are limits to the power of the Executive Branch on these agencies per Congressional regulations.