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Uniquenesses of the US Federal Bureaucracy I.

Two-Masters Syndrome In most western democracies, bureaucrats report only to specific ministers US bureaucrats report to both Congress and the Executive Branch Bureaucrats play one branch off the other II. The Federal System Some federal bureaucracies deal directly with US citizens (ie. post office, IRS) Many federal agencies work through similar bureaucracies at the state or local level Money is disbursed through grants or revenue sharing o Medicaid: Poverty aid paid by state III. Adversary Culture Americans like to sue Much of the time spent by federal agencies is defending their actions against civil law suits Very different from Europe where decision go largely unchallenged IV. Regulations v. Operation Americans also like capitalism Compared to other western democracies, the US government operates very few companies Federal agencies are tasked more with regulating private owned firms Who works for the Federal Bureaucracy? Reforming Employment Two significant acts attempted to reform the civil service system: o Pendleton Act (1883): government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit, not just political affiliation, and once assigned, a person cannot be fired on the basis of political affiliation o Hatch Act (1939): executive branch employees may not engage in partisan political activities Recruiting and Retaining Today Many federal positions in the civil service are part of the competitive service The exam used to be a general examination Increasing need for specialists within the competitive service Non-Competitive Jobs 3% of federal service is an exempted service Presidential Appointments cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, heads of federal agencies, judges, US attorneys Schedule C Appointments confidential or policy-determining positions Non-career Executive Assignments high level positions that work as advisors or policy makers for a presidential administration; tend to come from former competitive service in the private sector Positions tend to be name-request jobs

Problems with Retention Once hired or appointed, it is very hard to fire a bureaucrat Easier to force out by reassigning them or reducing their responsibilities Once hired, bureaucrats tend to become very territorial and take on an agencys point of view o Unwilling to see their positions or budgets cut o Suspicious of new management o Can sabotage their superiors Four Agencies of the Federal Bureaucracies The Cabinet 15 Departments Advisory group to the President Help execute laws and assist in decision making Last established Homeland Security Independent Executive Agencies 200+ Established by Congress with separate status outside the executive branch Have their own budget set by Congress Heads must by appointed by President, confirmed by Senate Given a specific mandate and generally perform a service function, not a regulatory one E.g. NASA, EPA, SSA, CIA Independent Regulatory Commissions 2000+ (Divisions, Bureaus, Departments) Heads appointed by President, confirmed by Senate Perform a regulatory role over private industry Have discretionary authority to make policies not spelled out in law E.g. FCC, FDA Government Corporations Industries or services run wholly by the federal government Heads appointed by president, confirmed by Senate Heavily subsidized E.g. Post Office Functions of the Federal Bureaucracy 1. Implementation carry out laws of Congress, executive orders of the President 2. Administration routine administrative work; provide services established by congressional act 3. Regulation issue rules and regulations that impact the public (ex: EPA air standards) a. Discretionary authority: i. Laws can be vague and Congress does not have time to vote on every day-to-day decision ii. Some power to set policy is devolved onto the bureaucracy iii. Often times, contentious and challenged (adversary culture)

Congressional Oversight of the Federal Bureaucracy Pass legislation that alters an agencys functions Investigate agency activities Hold committee hearings Influence or even fail to confirm presidential appointments The Authorization/Appropriation Process Congress most important check over the federal bureaucracy is the two-part authorization/appropriation process o Authorization legislation to create or renew an agency begins in Congress and a related committee approves the maximum amount of money an agency may spend Starts in House b/c power of the purse o Appropriations most money set aside for an agency must be specifically appropriated through the House Appropriations committee. An appropriations bill must be drafted that details how the authorized money must be spent President Supervises the Bureaucracy and can: Appoint and remove agency heads Reorganize the bureaucracy Issue executive orders Request a reduction or zeroing out of an agencys budget Federal Courts checks the bureaucracy and can: Judicial review Provide due process for individuals affected by bureaucratic action Interest groups influence he bureaucracy and can: Help or hurt agencies chances of receiving funding Provide statistics and professional expertise Rally support or opposition to agency policies The Iron Triangle Congress

^ electoral support through campaign contribution ^ policy choices & execution v friendly legislation & oversight v funding and political support

Interest Groups

Bureaucracy congressional support, via lobby low regulation, special favors

Pathologies and Reform Growth of size of bureaucracy since 1940 due to WWII (defense department/civilian employees Bureaucratic Pathologies o Red Tape: complexity and inefficiency in trying to get something done o Conflict: caused when tow agencies work at cross-purposes o Duplication: when a governmental task is repeated by two or more agencies o Imperialism: growth in the federal government without any perceived benefit in quality of service o Waste: tendency for the federal government to pay above market prices for materials and contracted work Why do these problems exist? o Need for uniformity across a large country o Responding to the needs of two branches, one which includes 535 members o Easier to add than subtract services o Little incentive to cut costs Attempts to Reform the Bureaucracy o Attempts have been made to reform the bureaucracy starting with the selection and hiring of bureaucrats Pendleton Act (1883) Hatch Act (1939) o Focus traditionally on three areas Centralizing power in the executive branch Reducing the size of government Improving efficiency National Performance Review (1993) o Shifted the focus of improving the bureaucracy to a constituent experience-based approach o Suggestions from the NPR Decentralize management decisions Reduce red tape and specific regulations Increased emphasis on taxpayer satisfaction