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To Whom are the executive departments and agencies answerable for their actions?

Updated on March 19, 2015

This question may seem like a no brainer to many individuals but the answer may surprise you. Most if not all of us accept the fact that these entities report to the President as he is in charge of the executive department of the federal government. There responsibilities do not end there as these entities must answer questions brought by Congress who is elected by the people to represent them in all federal actions and decisions. Executive departments and agencies create many rules and regulations in support of the laws they are entrusted to enforce. While Congress is the interim organization or entity between the public and the executive department the public still has a voice.

Part of the process in creating rules or regulations as I understand it and has been exhibited in recent news events is that the public has the ability to comment on proposed rule changes for the various executive level entities Recently the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has a proposal to eliminate the manufacture of certain ammunition. The public soundly voiced their opinion in such numbers that this proposed changed was pulled back. We as the public must understand we have a direct voice not only through our votes but through our comments on decisions made by the executive department entities. When it is identified proposals are out for comments from the public if the topic is of interest to us we need to exercise our rights and let them know how we feel about the proposed change. As seen in the example identified earlier if there is a strong enough voice against any proposed action a change in direction can take place at least temporarily if not permanent.

All actions and decisions of the federal government must answer to the voters each election year. While the individuals who head these entities and those who work for them are not elected it does not mean that the actions are void of responsibility to the public. We as voters elect individuals to represent us in Congress in the Senate and House of Representatives. These individuals are responsible to their individual constituents come election time. With respect to the executive level of government specifically the departments and agencies must answer to Congress for the decisions they make. This can be seen through hearings where department and agency heads must answer questions regarding their activity including their regulations and rules. Oversight of the executive department and their actions must get more pronounced. The decisions being made with respect to the impact on the public and the rights we have as citizens must be protected. This is the responsibility of Congress with input from the public as opportunities present themselves.


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