6.4 The Functions of the Federal Bureaucracy
6.4a Implementation, administration and regulation
Implementation, administration and regulation are the three main functions of the federal bureaucracy. Implementation is the process of putting the new policies into practice, after a law has been passed by the Congress. The Volstead Act was passed by the Congress in order to provide for the necessary bureaucratic mechanism to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment that outlawed the sale, transport and manufacture of liquor. Most modern legislation is passed in a skeleton form. Broad policies are laid down and a mandate is provided. Thus the bureaucracy has to use administrative discretion to round out the implications of the law, through its administrative orders. In doing so, an agency may have to face the criticism of interest groups, the President, or the Congress regarding its implementation policies.
Administration work of a routine nature is characteristic
of the office. This includes collection of fees, the issue of permits
and the conducting of tests. It is not the bureaucratís role to
question policy goals in performing such administrative tasks. Thus
an INS official does the job of issuing a green card to an immigrant,
permitting him to work in the U.S. and not of questioning whether
the nationís immigration policy will be endangered by this act.
The federal bureaucracy is empowered to issue rules and regulations affecting the public. The rules by which federal and state programs operate are known as regulations. The administrative process through which they are enacted is known as rule making. Due to the lack of time and technical knowledge on the part of the Congress, it needs to delegate the authority of formulating rules and regulations (for executing the general policy) to a specialized agency. Thus the Interstate Commerce Commission possesses the power over the nationís railroads, while the Federal Communications Commission polices the nationís radio and television networks.
The process of rule making is certainly very complex. By the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946, federal agencies have to publish the regulations proposed by them in the Federal Register. This enables interested persons to present their arguments related to the case. Such persons must also be allowed to appear before the agency, accompanied by counsel and to cross-examine witnesses. In certain cases, the regulations may be challenged in court. In making regulations, bureaucrats have to take into consideration professional ethics, the advice of experts, as also the attitudes of the President, the Congress, interest groups and political parties.
Charecterstics of the Bureaucracy
The growth of the Federal Bureaucracy
Controlling the size of the Bureaucracy
6.4 - The functions of the Fedearl Bureaucracy
The Structure of the Federal Bureaucracy
Bureaucracies and the Democratic Process