executive-branch

American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

executive branch definition


The branch of federal and state government that is broadly responsible for implementing, supporting, and enforcing the laws made by the legislative branch and interpreted by the judicial branch. At the state level, the executive includes governors and their staffs. At the federal level, the executive includes the president, the vice president, staffs of appointed advisers (including the cabinet), and a variety of departments and agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Postal Service (see postmaster general). The executive branch also proposes a great deal of legislation to Congress and appoints federal judges, including justices of the Supreme Court. Although the executive branch guides the nation's domestic and foreign policies, the system of checks and balances works to limit its power.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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