Рефераты. Правительство Соединенных Штатов

opinions, upon request, to the president and to the heads of the executive

departments. Its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the principle law

enforcement body, and its Immigration and Naturalization Service

administers immigration laws. A major agency within the department is the

Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA), which administers narcotics and

controlled substances laws, and tracks down major illicit drug trafficking

organizations. The Justice Department also gives aid to local police

forces. In addition, the department directs U.S. district attorneys and

marshals throughout the country, supervises federal prisons and other penal

institutions, and investigates and reports to the president on petitions

for paroles and pardons. The Justice Department is also linked to INTERPOL,

the International Criminal Police Organization, charged with promoting

mutual assistance between law enforcement agencies in 146 countries.


The Department of Labor promotes the welfare of wage earners in the United

States, helps improve working conditions and fosters good relations between

labor and management. It administers more than 130 federal labor laws

through such agencies as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

(OSHA), the Employment Standards Administration and the Mine Safety and

Health Administration. Among its responsibilities are: guaranteeing

workers' rights to safe and healthy working conditions; establishing

minimum hourly wages and overtime pay; prohibiting employment

discrimination; and providing for unemployment insurance and compensation

for on-the-job injury. It also protects workers' pension rights, sponsors

job training programs and helps workers find jobs. Its Bureau of Labor

Statistics monitors and reports changes in employment, prices and other

national economic measurements. For job seekers, the department makes

special efforts to help older workers, youths, minorities, women and the



The Department of State advises the president, who has overall

responsibility for formulating and executing the foreign policy of the

United States. The department assesses American overseas interests, makes

recommendations on policy and future action, and takes necessary steps to

carry out established policy. It maintains contacts and relations between

the United States and foreign countries, advises the president on

recognition of new foreign countries and governments, negotiates treaties

and agreements with foreign nations, and speaks for the United States in

the United Nations and in more than 50 other major international

organizations. As-of 1988, the department supervised 141 embassies and 113

missions or consulates in foreign nations.


The Department of Transportation (DOT) was created in 1966 by consolidating

land, sea and air transportation functions scattered thoughout eight

separate departments and agencies. DOT establishes the nation's overall

transportation policy through nine operating units that encompass highway

planning, development and construction; urban mass transit; railroads;

civilian aviation; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil

and gas pipelines. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration

operates more than 350 air traffic control facilities across the country;

the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for the 68,000-kilometer

interstate highway system; the National Highway Traffic Safety

Administration establishes safety and fuel economy standards for motor

vehicles; and the Maritime Administration operates the U.S. merchant marine

fleet. The U.S. Coast Guard, the nation's primary maritime law enforcement

and licensing agency, conducts search and rescue missions at sea, combats

drug smuggling and works to prevent oil spills and ocean pollution.


The Department of the Treasury is responsible for serving the fiscal and

monetary needs of the nation. The department performs four basic functions:

formulating financial, tax and fiscal policies; serving as financial agent

for the U.S. government; providing specialized law enforcement services;

and manufacturing coins and currency. The Treasury Department reports to

Congress and the president on the financial condition of the government and

the national economy. It regulates the sale of alcohol, tobacco and

firearms in interstate and foreign commerce; supervises the printing of

stamps for the U.S. Postal Service; operates the Secret Service, which

protects the president, the vice president, their families, and visiting

dignitaries and heads of state; suppresses counterfeiting of U.S. currency

and securities; and administers the Customs Service, which regulates and

taxes the flow of goods into the country. The department includes the

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Treasury official who

executes the laws governing the operation of approximately 4,600 banks; and

the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which administers tax laws—the source

of most of the federal government's revenue.


The Department of Veterans Affairs, established as an independent agency in

1930 and elevated to Cabinet level in 1988, dispenses benefits and services

to eligible veterans of U.S. military service and their dependents. The

medicine and surgery department provides hospital and nursing home care,

and outpatient medical and dental services through 172 medical centers, 16

retirement homes, 228 clinics and 116 nursing homes in the United States,

Puerto Rico and the Philippines. It also supports veterans under care in

hospitals and nursing homes in 35 states. The veterans benefits department

oversees claims for disability, pensions, specially adapted housing and

other services. This department also administers education programs for

veterans, and provides housing credit assistance to eligible veterans and

active-duty service personnel. The memorial affairs department administers

the National Cemetery System, providing burial services, headstones and

markers to eligible veterans and their spouses within specially designated

cemeteries throughout the United States.


The executive departments are the major operating units of | the federal

government, but there are many other agencies which have important

responsibilities for keeping the government and the economy working

smoothly. These are often called independent agencies, since they are not

part of the executive departments. The nature and purpose of these agencies

vary widely. Some are regulatory groups, with powers to supervise certain

sectors of the economy. Others provide special services, either to the

government or to the people. In most cases, the agencies have been created

by Congress to deal with matters that have become too complex for the scope

of ordinary legislation. The Interstate Commerce Commission, for example,

was established by Congress in 1887 to curb the growing power of the

railroads. In recent years, however, a trend toward deregulation of the

economy has altered the functions of many federal regulatory bodies. Among

the most important independent agencies are the following:

action is the principal federal agency for administering domestic volunteer

service programs to meet basic human needs, and to support the self-help

efforts of poor individuals and communities. Some of action's programs are

Foster Grandparents, offering older Americans opportunities for close

relationships with needy children; Volunteers in Service to America

(VISTA), which provides volunteers to work in poor communities; and Student

Community Service Projects, which encourages students to volunteer in their

communities as part of their education.

central intelligence agency (cia) coordinates intelligence activities of

certain government departments and agencies; collects, correlates and

evaluates intelligence information relating to national security; and makes

recommendations to the National Security Council.

environmental protection agency (epa), founded in 1970, works with state

and local governments throughout the United States to control and abate

pollution in the air and water, and to deal with the problems of solid

waste, pesticides, radiation and toxic substances. EPA sets and enforces

standards for air and water quality, evaluates the impact of pesticides and

chemical substances, and manages the so-called "Superfund" program for

cleaning toxic waste sites.

the federal communications commission licenses the operation of radio and

television stations and regulates interstate telephone and telegraph

services. It sets rates for interstate communications services, assigns

radio frequencies, and administers international communications treaties.

the federal reserve system supervises the private banking system of the

United States. It regulates the volume of credit and money in circulation.

The Federal Reserve performs many of the functions of central banks in

other countries, such as issuing paper currency; unlike central banks,

however, it does not act as the depository of the country's gold reserve.

the federal trade commission guards against trade abuses and unfair

business practices by conducting investigations and holding hearings on


the general accounting office is an arm of the legislative branch that

oversees expenditures by the executive branch. It is headed by the

comptroller general of the United States. It settles or

adjusts—independently of the executive departments—all claims and demands

by or against the federal government, and all money accounts in which the

government is concerned. It also checks the ledger accounts of all federal

disbursement and collection officers to see that public funds have been

paid out legally.

the general services administration controls much of the physical property

of the federal government. It is responsible for the purchase, supply,

operation and maintenance of federal property, buildings and equipment, and

for the sale of surplus items.

the interstate commerce commission regulates the rates and practices in

interstate commerce of all common carriers, such as railroads, buses,

trucks, and shipping on inland waterways. It supervises the issuance of

stocks and bonds by common carriers and enforces safety laws.


1958 to run the U.S. space program, placed the first American satellites

and astronauts in orbit, and launched the Apollo spacecraft that landed men

on the moon in 1969. Today, NASA conducts research aboard Earth-orbiting

satellites and interplanetary probes, explores new concepts in advanced

aerospace technology, and operates the U.S. fleet of manned space shuttles.

In the 1990s, NASA will assemble, in space, the components for a permanent

space station manned by international crews from the United States, Europe

and Japan.


development of American arts, literature and scholarship, through grants to

individuals, groups, institutions and state agencies.

the national labor relations board administers the principal U.S. labor

law, the National Labor Relations Act. The Board is vested with the power

to prevent or remedy unfair labor practices and to safeguard employees'

rights to organize and determine through elections whether to have unions

as their bargaining representative.

the national science foundation was created to strengthen basic research

and education in the sciences in the United States. It grants funds for

research and education programs to universities and other institutions, and

coordinates the science information activities of the federal government.

the office of national drug control policy, created in 1988 to raise the

profile of the U.S. government's fight against illegal drugs, coordinates

efforts of such agencies as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the

Customs Service and the Coast Guard.

THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT in 1979 assumed functions of the Civil

Service Commission, which was created in 1883 to establish a merit system

for government service and to eliminate politics from public appointments.

The agency holds competitive examinations across the country to select

qualified workers for over three million government posts. It also sponsors

training programs to increase the effectiveness of government employees.

the peace corps, founded in 1961, trains volunteers to serve in foreign

countries for two years. Peace Corps volunteers, now working in more than

60 nations, assist in agricultural-rural development, small business,

health, natural resources conservation and education.

THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION was established to protect investors

who buy stocks and bonds. Federal laws require companies that plan to raise

money by selling their own securities to file facts about their operations

with the commission. The commission has powers to prevent or punish fraud

in the sale of securities, and is authorized to regulate stock exchanges.

the small business administration lends money to small businesses, aids

victims of floods and other natural disasters, and helps secure contracts

for small businesses to supply goods and services to the federal



economic assistance programs designed to help the people in developing

countries develop their human and economic resources, increase their

productive capacities, and improve the quality of human life. The USAID

administrator also serves as director of the U.S. International Development

Cooperation Agency, which serves as the focal point for U.S. participation

in such organizations as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Organization

of American States (OAS) Technical Assistance Funds program, the World Bank

Group, and along with the Department of Agriculture, the Food for Peace



U.S. participation in international negotiations on arms limitation and

disarmament. It represents the United States on international arms control

commissions and supports research on arms control and disarmament.


understanding of the United States in other countries through the

dissemination abroad of information about the nation, its people, culture

and policies. USIA also administers a number of two-way educational and

cultural exchange programs, such as the Fulbright Program, with foreign

nations. It provides assistance to foreign press and television journalists

covering the United States. The Agency also advises the president and the

various departments of the government on foreign opinion concerning U.S.

policies and programs.

the united states postal service is operated by an autonomous public

corporation that replaced the Post Office Department in 1971. The Postal

Service is responsible for the collection, transportation and delivery of

the mails, and for the operation of thousands of local post offices across

the country. It also provides international mail service through the

Universal Postal Union and other agreements with foreign countries. An

independent Postal Rate Commission, also created in 1971, sets the rates

for different classes of mail.



Article I of the Constitution grants all legislative powers of the federal

government to a Congress divided into two chambers. a Senate and a House of

Representatives. The Senate, the smaller of the two, is composed of two

members for each state as provided by the Constitution, Membership in the

House is based on population and its size is therefore not specified in the


For more than 100 years after the adoption of the Constitution, senators

were not elected by direct vote of the people but were chosen by state

legislatures. Senators were looked on as representatives of their home

states. Their duty was to ensure that their states were treated equally in

all legislation. The 17th Amendment, adopted in 1913, provided for direct

election of the Senate.

The delegates to the Constitutional Convention reasoned that if two

separate groups—one representing state governments and one representing the

people—must both approve every proposed law, there would be little danger

of Congress passing laws hurriedly or carelessly. One house could always

check the other in the manner of the British Parliament. Passage of the

17th Amendment did not substantially alter this balance of power between

the two houses.

While there was intense debate in the Convention over the makeup and

powers of Congress, many delegates believed that the legislative branch

would be relatively unimportant. A few believed that the Congress would

concern itself largely with external affairs, leaving domestic matters to

state and local governments. These views were clearly wide of the mark. The

Congress has proved to be exceedingly active, with broad powers and

authority in all matters of national concern. While its strength vis-a-vis

the executive branch has waxed and waned at different periods of American

history, the Congress has never been impotent or a rubber stamp for

presidential decisions.

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