General Government Information

Chapter 13: Section 2

The Executive Branch

The power of the Executive Branch is vested in the President of the United States, who also acts as head of state and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet. The Vice President is also part of the Executive Branch, ready to assume the Presidency should the need arise.

The Cabinet and independent federal agencies are responsible for the day-to-day enforcement and administration of federal laws. These departments and agencies have missions and responsibilities as widely divergent as those of the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Social Security Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

President-elect of the United States
Donald Trump

The Cabinet (Appointees and nominees as of print date)

The tradition of the Cabinet dates back to the beginnings of the Presidency itself. Established in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, the Cabinet's role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member's respective office.

The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of executive departments; the heads of certain independent agencies and certain other top officials have Cabinet rank.

Department of State
Secretary Rex Tillerson

Department of the Treasury
Secretary Steve Mnuchin

Department of Defense
Secretary Gen. James Mattis

Department of Justice
Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions

Department of the Interior
Secretary Ryan Zinke

Department of Agriculture

Department of Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross

Department of Labor
Secretary Andrew Puzder

Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Tom Price

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Ben Carson

Department of Transportation
Secretary Elaine Chao

Department of Energy
Secretary Rick Perry

Department of Education
Secretary Betsy DeVos

Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. David J. Shulkin

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Gen. John. F. Kelly

The following positions have the status of Cabinet rank:

White House Chief of Staff
Reince Priebus

Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Scott Pruitt

Office of Management and Budget
Director Mick Mulvaney 

U.S. Trade Representative
Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Ambassador Nikki Haley

Council of Economic Advisers

Small Business Administration
Administrator Linda McMahon

The Legislative Branch

Established by Article I of the Constitution, the Legislative Branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which together form the United States Congress. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject many Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powers.

United States Congress

House of Representatives

Speaker of the House
Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

Majority Leader
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

Majority Whip
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)

Democratic Whip
Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Minority Leader

Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)

Majority Whip
John Cornyn (R-Texas.)

Minority Whip
Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)

Federal Agencies and Commissions

There are hundreds of federal agencies and commissions charged with handling such responsibilities as managing America's space program, protecting its forests, and gathering intelligence. For a full listing of federal agencies, departments, and commissions, visit

Congressional Committees

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are the key committees in Congress as far as federal and postal employee legislation is concerned.

The House and Senate Appropriations and Budget committees are also important to government workers because they control the purse strings of the various governmental departments and agencies and hence the number of civilian jobs, promotion opportunities, and other employment factors dependent on the amount of money that an agency gets each year from Congress.

House Appropriations Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
H-305, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Phone (202) 225-2771

House Budget Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
207 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 226-7270

Senate Appropriations Committee
Room S 128, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-7363 

Senate Budget Committee
624 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-0642

House Ways and Means Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3625

Senate Finance Committee
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6200
Phone: (202) 224-4515

The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee are vital for government workers because they handle all Social Security legislation.

Members of Congress and Congressional committees may be contacted by the following means:

By Email—All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to your state representatives. Some representatives have email addresses while others post comment forms on their Web sites. You can find your state representatives' individual Web pages at either or When sending e-mail, please include your return postal mailing address.

By Postal Mail—You can direct postal correspondence to offices at the following address:

For correspondence to U.S. Representatives:
Office of Representative (Name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

For correspondence to U.S. Senators:
Office of Senator (Name)
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510 

For correspondence to Congressional Committees:
(Name of Committee)
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 

For correspondence to Senate Committees:
(Name of Committee)
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

By Telephone—Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the office you request.

Legislative Information

Information on bills and their status is available at The site also has information about current activity in Congress, committee reports, historic information, and links to other resources.

Via a recorded message at (202) 456-2226, the Office of the Executive Clerk at the White House provides information on presidential signings or vetoes of legislation and other actions. If the desired information is not in the taped message, callers can stay on the line to speak with a person.

How to Get Government Accountability Office Reports

The Government Accountability Office, the investigative and auditing branch of the Congress, issues reports on government personnel policies and practices and on employee benefits and entitlements, among other topics. We cover highlights of these in our weekly newsletter Federal Employees News Digest.

Publicly released GAO publications are available free at To order print copies visit or call (866) 801-7077. Copies vary in price and can be paid for with major credit cards.

How to Get the Federal Register

The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.

The Federal Register is available free at Print subscriptions are available for $929 for one year. Single copies vary in price. To order, visit or call (866) 512-1800; fax (202) 512-2104. Orders require prepayment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit cards; check; or Superintendent of Documents deposit account.

How to Get the Congressional Record

The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, including daily floor and committee activities.

The Congressional Record is available free at Print subscriptions are available for $503 for one year. Single copies vary in price. To order, visit or call (866) 512-1800; fax (202) 512-2104. Orders require prepayment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit cards; check; or Superintendent of Documents deposit account.

How to Get MSPB, FLRA, FSIP, and EEOC Decisions

Merit Systems Protection Board decisions, case reports, and studies are available free at

Federal Labor Relations Authority decisions are available free at To order, visit or call (866) 512-1800; fax (202) 512-2104. All orders require prepayment by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover credit cards, check, or Superintendent of Documents deposit account.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decisions are available free at Several private publishing companies republish and index EEOC decisions.

How to Research the U.S. Code and the Code of Federal Regulations

The U.S. Code is searchable at

The Code of Federal Regulations is searchable at

Agency libraries, general counsel offices, law libraries, or large general-purpose libraries may have copies of print versions.

Federal Citizen Information Center

The Federal Citizen Information Center at is a source of information and help for questions or problems related to the government, including veterans’ benefits, Social Security and Medicare, along with some information specific to federal employment. provides e-mail and online chat access to customer service representatives and is available by phone at (800) 333-4636.

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA)

Since 1986, FEEA has been the only non-profit organization devoted solely to helping civilian federal and postal employees. FEEA’s goal is that every federal employee knows of FEEA in his or her time of need. It provides college scholarships, emergency loans and grants to eligible civilian federal and postal employees and their dependents.

FEEA, which receives no government funds, is a Combined Federal Campaign charity (CFC #11185). It manages its programs through a network of nationwide volunteers.

Emergency Assistance—FEEA’s Emergency Assistance Program provides confidential grants and no-interest loans to federal employees facing unexpected financial hardships. Loans are given to help pay for basic living expenses, such as shelter or utilities. Payments are made directly to creditors, and employees pay FEEA back through payroll allotment, a little at a time, with no interest added. Grants are given when natural disasters affect feds and are intended to provide temporary assistance while insurance claims and other assistance requests are being processed.

Scholarships—FEEA’s scholarship competition is open to current civilian federal and U.S. postal service employees with at least three years of federal service and their dependent family members (children and spouses). Awards range from $250-$7,500. Applications are available January through March each year. 

For more information or to apply for assistance:

3333 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80227
(800) 323-4140 or (303) 933-7580

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