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Branches of the U.S. Government

The Constitution of the United States creates a system of checks and balances by establishing three independent branches of government.  Click below to find information about each branch:

Executive Branch

The Executive Branch of the United States Government is headed by the President, who is responsible for domestic policy, including the enforcement of federal laws, and foreign affairs, serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

White House

Offices and Agencies

Departments
  • Department of Agriculture provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
  • Department of Commerce fosters, serves, and promotes the Nation's economic development and technological advancement.
  • Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of our country.
  • Department of Education promotes student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
  • Department of Energy promotes scientific and technological innovation to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States and ensures the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex.
  • Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
  • Department of Homeland Security has five main areas of responsibility:  guarding against terrorism; securing our borders; enforcing our immigration laws; improving our readiness for, response to and recovery from disasters; and maturing and unifying the Department.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development is charged with the mission to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.
  • Department of the Interior protects and manages the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated Island Communities.
  • Department of Justice enforces the law and defends the interests of the United States according to the law; ensures public safety against threats foreign and domestic; provides federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; seeks just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and ensures fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.
  • Department of Labor administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and healthful working conditions; a minimum hourly wage and overtime pay; freedom from employment discrimination; unemployment insurance; and other income support.
  • Department of State is the lead federal agency responsible for U.S. foreign affairs. The Department of State helps to shape a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through formulating, representing and implementing the President’s foreign policy.
  • Department of Transportation serves the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.
  • Department of The Treasury is responsible for a wide range of activities such as advising the President on economic and financial issues, encouraging sustainable economic growth, and fostering improved governance in financial institutions.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs serves America's Veterans and their families with dignity and compassion and to be their principal advocate in ensuring that they receive medical care, benefits, social support, and lasting memorials promoting the health, welfare, and dignity of all Veterans in recognition of their service to this Nation.

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Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch of the United States Government includes Congress, the chief law-making body in the country, and agencies that provide support for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Agencies
  • Government Printing Office provides publishing & dissemination services for the official & authentic government publications to Congress, Federal agencies, Federal depository libraries, & the American public.
  • Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.
  • Congressional Budget Office provides the Congress with: objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.
  • Government Accountability Office is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the "congressional watchdog," GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars.
  • Architect of the Capitol is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of 16.5 million square feet of buildings and more than 450 acres of land throughout the Capitol complex.
Legislation

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Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch of the Government includes the Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the country, and lower Federal courts. Courts hear arguments and issue decisions about the interpretation and application of laws and whether they violate the Constitution.

Supreme Court Decisions

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Library Hours

Library
Fall Hours
Mon - Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Sat: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sun: Closed
Special Hours
December 19
DP: 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
RHC: 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

December 20 - 23
Mon - Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sat - Sun: Closed

December 24 - January 4
Closed

January 5 - 18
Mon - Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sat - Sun: Closed

January 19
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Closed
Library