What Is the Purpose of the Executive Branch?

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The U.S. executive branch’s main purpose is to implement and enforce laws; the executive branch consists of the president, vice president and the president’s cabinet. Other departments and agencies, like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the United States Postal Service (USPS), are included in the executive branch. This branch is responsible for day-to-day enforcement and administration of federal laws.

The president has a wide range of powers as the head of the executive branch. These include approval and veto powers over laws, issuance of executive orders and granting pardons to those who commit federal crimes. The president is also commonly the face of the country in international affairs. The vice president aids the president while heading the Senate and takes the place of the president in cases where the president dies, is impeached or is injured or ill.

The Cabinet, which consists of the heads of the 15 main executive departments, enforce and regulate laws. The departments include commerce, defense, education and homeland security, among others. The Cabinet takes care of minor issues that arise and do not need presidential attention, allowing the head of state to focus on more important matters. According to the White House website, the executive branch employs more than 4 million Americans.