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in the United States
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Independent agencies of the United States federal government are agencies that exist outside the federal executive departments (those headed by a Cabinet secretary) and the Executive Office of the President.In a narrower sense, the term may also be used to describe agencies that, while constitutionally managed by the executive branch, are independent of presidential control, usually because the president's power to dismiss the agency head or a member is limited.
Established through separate statutes passed by the Congress, each respective statutory grant of authority defines the goals the agency must work towards, as well as what substantive areas, if any, over which it may have the power of rulemaking. These agency rules (or regulations), when in force, have the power of federal law.
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Independent agencies can be distinguished from the federal executive departments and other executive agencies by their structural and functional characteristics.Congress can also designate certain agencies explicitly as "independent" in the governing statute, but the functional differences have more legal significance.
While most executive agencies have a single director, administrator, or secretary appointed by the President of the United States, independent agencies (in the narrower sense of being outside presidential control) almost always have a commission, board, or similar collegial body consisting of five to seven members who share power over the agency.(This is why many independent agencies include the word "Commission" or "Board" in their name.) The president appoints the commissioners or board members, subject to Senate confirmation, but they often serve terms that are staggered and longer than a four-year presidential term, meaning that most presidents will not have the opportunity to appoint all the commissioners of a given independent agency. The president can normally designate which commissioner will serve as the chairperson. Normally there are statutory provisions limiting the president's authority to remove commissioners, typically for incapacity, neglect of duty, malfeasance, or other good cause. In addition, most independent agencies have a statutory requirement of bipartisan membership on the commission, so the president cannot simply fill vacancies with members of his own political party.
In reality, the high turnover rate among these commissioners or board members means that most presidents have the opportunity to fill enough vacancies to constitute a voting majority on each independent agency commission within the first two years of the first term as president.In some famous instances, presidents have found the independent agencies more loyal and in lockstep with the president's wishes and policy objectives than some dissenters among the executive agency political appointments. Presidential attempts to remove independent agency officials have generated most of the important Supreme Court legal opinions in this area. Presidents normally do have the authority to remove heads of independent agencies, but they must meet the statutory requirements for removal, such as demonstrating that the individual has committed malfeasance. In contrast, the president can remove regular executive agency heads at will.
If the independent agency exercises any executive powers like enforcement, and most of them do, Congress cannot participate in the regular removal process of commissioners.Constitutionally, Congress can only participate directly in impeachment proceedings. Congress can, however, pass statutes limiting the circumstances under which the president can remove commissioners of independent agencies. Members of Congress cannot serve as commissioners on independent agencies that have executive powers, nor can Congress itself appoint the commissioners – the Appointments Clause of the Constitution vests that power in the president. The Senate does participate, however, in appointments through "advice and consent", which occurs through confirmation hearings and votes on the president's nominees.
There is a further distinction between an independent agency and an independent regulatory agency. The Paperwork Reduction Act lists 19 enumerated "independent regulatory agencies". Generally, the heads of independent regulatory agencies can only be removed for cause, whereas Cabinet members and heads of executive agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, serve "at the pleasure of the president".Executive Order 12866, which requires cost-benefit analysis for certain regulatory actions, does not apply to independent regulatory agencies.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the United States federal agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce and regulates the transportation of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce. FERC also reviews proposals to build interstate natural gas pipelines, natural gas storage projects, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, in addition to licensing non-federal hydropower projects.
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet-level department of the United States Government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material. Its responsibilities include the nation's nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production. It also directs research in genomics; the Human Genome Project originated in a DOE initiative. DOE sponsors more research in the physical sciences than any other U.S. federal agency, the majority of which is conducted through its system of National Laboratories. The agency is administered by the United States Secretary of Energy, and its headquarters are located in Southwest Washington, D.C., on Independence Avenue in the James V. Forrestal Building, named for James Forrestal, as well as in Germantown, Maryland.
A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types. Although usage differs, a government agency is normally distinct both from a department or ministry, and other types of public body established by government. The functions of an agency are normally executive in character, since different types of organizations are most often constituted in an advisory role—this distinction is often blurred in practice however.
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is one of two agencies that provide deposit insurance to depositors in U.S. depository institutions, the other being the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures commercial banks and savings institutions. The NCUA is an independent federal agency created by the United States Congress to regulate, charter, and supervise federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of more than 111 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of state-chartered credit unions. As of September 2016, there were 5,573 federally insured credit unions, with assets totaling more than $1.38 trillion, and net loans of $957.3 billion. The NCUA exclusively insures credit unions, whereas commercial banks and savings institutions are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) is an agency of the United States Department of Transportation.
Its programs promote the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system, and the viability of the U.S. merchant marine. The Maritime Administration works in many areas involving ships and shipping, shipbuilding, port operations, vessel operations, national security, environment, and safety. The Maritime Administration is also charged with maintaining the health of the merchant marine, since commercial mariners, vessels, and intermodal facilities are vital for supporting national security, and so the agency provides support and information for current mariners, extensive support for educating future mariners, and programs to educate America's young people about the vital role the maritime industry plays in the lives of all Americans.
In the United States, Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a generic term for the oversight division of a federal or state agency aimed at preventing inefficient or unlawful operations within their parent agency. Such offices are attached to many federal executive departments, independent federal agencies, as well as state and local governments. Each office includes an inspector general and employees charged with identifying, auditing, and investigating fraud, waste, abuse, embezzlement and mismanagement of any kind within the executive department.
The excepted service is the part of the United States federal civil service that is not part of either the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service. It provides streamlined hiring processes to be used under certain circumstances.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the United States is a judge and trier of fact who both presides over trials and adjudicates the claims or disputes involving administrative law.
The United States Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is an independent federal agency based in Washington, D.C. that is responsible for the regulation of oceanborne international transportation of the U.S. It is chaired by Michael A. Khouri.
A regulatory agency is a public authority or government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some area of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity. An independent regulatory agency is a regulatory agency that is independent from other branches or arms of the government.
The United States Postal Regulatory Commission, formerly called the Postal Rate Commission, is an independent regulatory agency created by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. Like the Postal Service, it was defined in law as an independent establishment of the executive branch.
The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) is a United States independent federal regulatory agency within the Department of the Interior. The Congress established the agency pursuant to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988.
"Right to know", in the context of United States workplace and community environmental law, is the legal principle that the individual has the right to know the chemicals to which they may be exposed in their daily living. It is embodied in federal law in the United States as well as in local laws in several states. "Right to Know" laws take two forms: Community Right to Know and Workplace Right to Know. Each grants certain rights to those groups. The "right to know" concept is included in Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring.
Executive Schedule is the system of salaries given to the highest-ranked appointed officials in the executive branch of the U.S. government. The President of the United States appoints individuals to these positions, most with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. They include members of the president's Cabinet, several top-ranking officials of each executive department, the directors of some of the more prominent departmental and independent agencies, and several members of the Executive Office of the President.
The federal government of the United States empowers a wide range of law enforcement agencies to maintain law and public order related to matters affecting the country as a whole.
The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is a nonpartisan independent agency of the United States government established in 1964 by the Administrative Conference Act. The Conference's purpose is to "promote improvements in the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of the procedures by which federal agencies conduct regulatory programs, administer grants and benefits, and perform related governmental functions."
An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate, to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government or Northern Ireland Executive. Executive agencies are "machinery of government" devices distinct both from non-ministerial government departments and non-departmental public bodies, each of which enjoy a real legal and constitutional separation from ministerial control. The model was also applied in several other countries.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) is a United States federal government organization, established by Title I of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010. The Office of Financial Research is intended to provide support to the council.