Article

The President's and Vice President's Jobs

Explore the differences between the top two positions in American government.

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

The President

A Demanding Job: The President of the U.S. has many responsibilities. The President acts as the head of his political party, the chief representative of the government, and the country's popular leader.

Chief Executive: The President is considered the country's chief executive. He develops federal policies, prepares national budgets, enforces federal laws, and appoints federal officials.

Commander in Chief: The President is the commander of the armed services. He is responsible for keeping the country safe and strong both in wartime and during peaceful periods.

Foreign Policy Director: The President must direct foreign policy, appoint ambassadors, make treaties, and meet with foreign leaders.

Legislative Leader: The President influences the development and passage of laws. But his support does not guarantee that a law will be instated. Also, the President has the power to veto any bill that has been passed by Congress.

The Vice President

The V.P.'s Job: The only duty the U.S. Constitution assigns the Vice President is to act as presiding officer of the Senate. But the Vice President also serves as ceremonial assistant to the President and is an important part of the President's administration.

The Second Highest Office: The Vice President is only "a heartbeat away" from becoming the President. He or she must be ready to become President or Acting President if anything happens to the President. Thirteen Vice Presidents have gone on to become President, eight because of the death of a President. (Gerald Ford became President after Richard M. Nixon resigned, and the rest were elected to the office.)

Adapted from Scholastic News.

top