4.1c Legislative Powers
As head of his political party, as chief executive of the government, and as a leader of the American people, the President can persuade Congress to enact his legislative program. Further he can make use of three specific constitutional provisions to influence legislation:
i. The Veto power
The President can obtain a modification in Legislation by threatening to veto it, unless specified changes are carried out. The Constitution empowers him with a veto over "every bill" and also over " every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary." Congress members have found it difficult to secure the two-thirds vote needed to override a presidential veto.
ii. Messages to Congress
The President not only delivers a message at the
opening of each session of Congress, but can also "from time
to time" give Congress "information of the State of the
Union." Such presidential messages are very influential, as
radio and television make them not only oral messages to the Congress
but addresses to the entire nation.
iii. Control over sessions of Congress
Special sessions of Congress can be called by the President. Thus the Senate has sometimes been called to consider treaties and confirm appointments.
iv. Other Specific Powers
Though the President is empowered to call special sessions of Congress, he has no power to dissolve the Congress and order a new election. However the Constitution authorizes him to adjourn the Congress in case of disagreement between the two houses, regarding the time of adjournment.
The President also has the authority to "grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment." The pardon may be given either before or after conviction of a federal crime. He generally does so on the recommendation of the Attorney General, after investigations following the conviction of a criminal. Emergency powers have also been granted to the President for use in case of an emergency or war.