Research Paper: Should Presidents Cabinet Members Have a Larger Role in the Formation of Public Policy

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Stress: Concept Analysis

Should president's cabinet members have a larger role in the formation of public policy?

The concept of democracy explains that people should be autonomous and the public representatives should be accountable for their actions. The legislature acts as people's representatives, as well as their agents, and, they therefore, play a major role in democracy. In other words, the legislature functions as a law making body in democratic society. This definition, however, addresses the wider range of activities and the duties that the legislature performs, but fails to account for the numerous types of legislators that exists in various nations. In accounting for the different types of legislatures, it is essential to first identify the other arms of the government that influences formation of public policies. Each arm of the government is entitled to different political power, and, this is where the concept of separation of powers comes in (Pfiffner, James and Roger 251-253).

Initially, there are three arms of the government; the legislature, executive and the judiciary. The dogma of distribution of powers between the three branches of the government embodies some three fundamental principles. Limited government is the first fundamental principle, and this implies that, the Bill of Rights limits the power held by the government. The second fundamental principle is the separation of personnel, which means, the law requires a single individual to hold a single office within the three branches of the government. The final fundamental principle watches over the other two arms of the government, and sometimes exercises authority over them to avoid their dominance. Some scholars refer to separation of powers as shared powers, and this entails the checks and balances, which is a role-played by each of the three arms of the government. This paper shall discuss the role of the cabinet members in formation of the public policy (Pfiffner, James and Roger 251-253).


The top executive staff is the president and he exercises his power by recommending legislation to the congress. He performs this exercise in the beginning of the year within the State of the Union Address. The president uses this opportunity in recommending to the congress what he wants them to do. In addition, the president has authority of vetoing bills implemented by the Congress. Entrusting such power to the president hinders the efficiency of the government, because the Bills that the Congress passes could be essential, but they president may reject based on his reasons. This is not right because the Congress may have used numerous resources and time discussing with the public before presenting the Bill. However, this is a two way process, whereby, the congress has powers to amend, block or even discard items presented by legislation, and recommended by the president. As Michael says (13-15), the cabinet can as well have the powers to overrule the president's rejection, if it influences more than majority in the houses of Congress.

Every president has a manifesto that guides him/her fulfill the pledges made to the public. A strong government requires an enhanced relationship between the president and the Congress. A president must consider the interests of the country prior to fulfilling his/her interests. He must be a candidate of high esteem and holds high integrity in the overall performance of his duties in the office. The president's critical responsibility is to come up with a budget and surrender it to the congress (Pfiffner, James and Roger 251-253).

The budget that the president puts forward to the Cabinet members is subject to amendments as they wait approval to become laws. The cabinet members evaluates the Bills approves those that need to be enacted, and disapproves those that that require debating between the President and the congress members. This process requires viable communication between them and total accord in order to enact autonomous laws. Michael (13-15) warns on the bad on the existence of a bad relationship between the President and the Cabinet members because the outcome is implementation of flawed laws that compromises democracy.

The relation between the president and the cabinet members is very fundamental because it forms part of the checks and balances that the constitution uses in determining the effectiveness of the policies implemented. Even though, there must be coordination between the Cabinet members and the president, mostly the latter has the final word. The President leads and gives directions concerning the best programs and the outlined Bill of rights. Cabinet members have numerous responsibilities in determining the span of the public policies implemented. They have a key responsibility of enacting legislation that is appropriate for the nation considering the budget surrendered by the president (Michael 13-15).

Even though, the cabinet plays a key role in implementing public policies, presidents from various countries regard the cabinet as a political institution. They assert that Cabinet rarely accomplishes its objectives and numerous people doubts the utility of both the president and the Cabinet members. In addition, they complain that the Cabinet have very many faults and requires amendments, however, is worries them why the same cabinet structure remains for very many centuries. I consider the bases of their argument as watertight because they fail to provide concrete reasons for transforming the existing cabinet (Michael 13-15).

Despite the criticisms, the cabinet plays a major role towards the President and department secretaries, and if its role is to advice the president, then it becomes difficult to fulfill the expected responsibilities. The functions are achievable only when the cabinet becomes a medium for management, and this is the only moment when its utility becomes significant and noticeable.


Four areas that cabinet plays reinforce its role in forming public policy, and include:

1. Political and managerial advice

2. Interdepartmental conflict resolution

3. Administrative coherence

4. Political assistance

Political and Managerial Advice

Generally, the president plays numerous roles besides being the head of state. His roles include; pleading with the public and elected person to adhere to president's policy preferences, provide proposals in global affairs, and he is a public symbol in representing the nation. However, the president plays another key role, though invisible, and this relates to offering political and administration leadership on behalf of the executive. It is in the latter arm of the government that Cabinet plays a huge role.

Information and diagnostic opinions can flow in either way during cabinet meetings, and the president starts a debate and the cabinet discusses the idea, comes up with conclusive views, and presents them to the president. The discussion may unearth various issues, which requires comprehensive evaluation before making any decisions. The president selects one members to advise him on the proposed ideas and whether the Bill can become a policy. The cabinet meetings chaired by the president can raise important issues and offer solutions of the issues raise through a legislative perspective. Lastly, the cabinet may assist generate a political consensus that may lay a strong framework for the ideas passed. (Michael 13-15).

The cabinet can help the president realize the challenges affecting the federal government. The presidents, usually aware and skilled in legislative politics feels at ease when the congress takes part in passing a Bill to become a law. However, laws are made, and their implementation falls under the managerial function. Most scholars and advisers discourage the presidents in spending time and political capital in legislative management. They claim that, the role of the president is to focus on political leadership and not in managerial role, as the latter is the role of cabinet members. This debate has been intense between the presidents and the cabinet secretaries (Michael 13-15).

It is the role of the cabinet members to alert the president about the management problems that affects his administration and other individual structures. In forming the policies, the cabinet members should comprehensively discuss and research on the issue because the president relies on their discussions in approving their proposal. In essence, plays a major role in providing a forum for political and managerial issues. However, it is important to note that, every decision made is at the good judgment of the president, who solely depends on the Cabinet members. This is why the cabinet members can dispute the discretion passed by the president if they find it biased.

Interdepartmental Conflict Resolution

For a government to operate smoothly, it must have laws, and the congress is responsible for establishing laws that governs a nation. Even though, the cabinet is entitled to authority and accountability, it encounters numerous challenges while exercising its powers. Various laws may permit various cabinet members the responsibility of managing similar programs, but aimed to accomplish conflicting outcome. For instance, the Food / animal department may have conflicting outcome with agriculture department.

Pfiffner, James and Roger assert (251-253) are uncertain on whether in case of conflicting issues, if the cabinet is useful in finding a solution. In such a scenario, the cabinet is not essential in resolving such a conflict, and the only way to solve such an issue is for the two… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Should Presidents Cabinet Members Have a Larger Role in the Formation of Public Policy.  (2013, March 30).  Retrieved May 21, 2019, from

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"Should Presidents Cabinet Members Have a Larger Role in the Formation of Public Policy."  30 March 2013.  Web.  21 May 2019. <>.

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"Should Presidents Cabinet Members Have a Larger Role in the Formation of Public Policy."  March 30, 2013.  Accessed May 21, 2019.