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The Vice President Had No Power

1097 words - 5 pages

“The Vice-President of the US has no real importance, only potential importance as the next president.” How far do you agree with the view?
The executive is the core of the government, where policy is formed and executed. In the USA there is a presidential executive, providing the political leadership of the country. The role of the president is outlined in Article 2. All executive power is vested in one president, elected separately from Congress with his own mandate. It is a single-person executive and president’s cabinet has no constitutionally derived power or electoral mandate, and the president may or may not seek their advice when making decisions (unlike the “cabinet government” in ...view middle of the document...

Also, during the 9/11 attacks, Cheney recommended that president Bush should authorise the military to shoot down any plane under the control of a hijacker. This shows that the Vice President had the power to advice the president in times of crisis, when he needs it most. The final enumerated power is being chief diplomat. The constitution gives the president the power to make treaties with other countries, although increasingly, presidents use “executive agreements”. However, the president himself is not the most powerful figure in government as the Founding Fathers placed formal constitutional checks and balances by the independent powers granted to Congress in Article 1 and the Judiciary in Article 3.
It could be argued that the Vice-President has no important power because the Presidential roles are developing. The implied powers that the president has is being chief legislator, having constitutional power of a regular veto. He is world leader and Party leader therefore, more popular than the Vice-Present. The president has huge international status especially since the Cold War. The President is head of state and seen as a national symbol. He performs ceremonial and symbolic functions just like the Queen does in the UK (who is head of state).
However, the President needs an appealing Vice-President for the nation. During a presidential election, the Vice-President “balances the ticket”. Therefore, the president would choose a vice-president that would appeal to the nation and is different to him to balance the ticket and thus, get more votes. Although the vice president is seen to have no constitutional powers, Joe Biden has successfully been involved in major policy initiatives and seeking congressional approval for them. Being a “heartbeat away from presidency”, the main constitutional significance of the office is that the vice-president would become president if the incumbent president dies in office. Joe Biden also entered office with a lot of experience (36 years’ service), more than president Obama. Part of his Biden’s role is to also act as an unofficial ambassador to the Senate, carrying information back and forth between his old colleagues and President Obama. He was also critical of the president, scrutinising his role on big-ticket issues, the middle-class tax force and the Unemployment Reauthorisation Act...

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