Bureaucracy – A form of organization that operates through impersonal, uniform rules and procedures.
Bureaucrat – A career government employee.
Department – Usually the largest organization in government with the largest mission; also the highest rank in Federal hierarchy.
Independent agency – A government entity that is independent of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
Independent regulatory commission – A government agency or commission with regulatory power whose independence is protected by Congress.
Government corporation – A government agency that operates like a business corporation, created to secure greater freedom of action and flexibility for a particular program.
Senior Executive Service – Established by Congress in 1978 as a flexible, mobile corps of senior career executives who worked closely with presidential appointees to manage government.
Spoils system – A system of public employment based on rewarding party loyalists and friends.
Merit system – A system of public employment in which selection and promotion depend on demonstrated performance rather than political patronage.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) – Agency that administers civil service laws, rules, and regulations.
Hatch Act – Federal statute barring Federal employees from active participation in certain kinds of politics and protecting them from being fired on partisan grounds.
Implementation – The process of putting a law into practice through bureaucratic rules or spending.
Administrative discretion – Authority given by Congress to the Federal bureaucracy to use reasonable judgment in implementing the laws.
Regulations – The formal instructions that government issues for implementing laws.
Rule-making process – The formal process for making regulations.
Uncontrollable spending – The portion of the Federal budget that is spent on programs, such as Social Security, that the president and Congress are unwilling to cut.
Entitlement programs – Programs such as unemployment insurance, disability relief, or disability payments that provide benefits to all eligible citizens.
Indexing – Providing automatic increases to compensate for inflation.
Oversight – Legislative or executive review of a particular government program or organization. Can be in response to a crisis of some kind or part of routine review.
Central clearance – Review of all executive branch testimony, reports, and draft legislation by the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that each communication to Congress is in accordance with the president’s program.
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