While the power to declare war is constitutionally vested in Congress, the president commands and directs the military and is responsible for planning military strategy. Congress, pursuant the War Powers Act, must authorize any troop deployments more than 60 days in length. Military spending and regulations are also governed by Congress, providing a check to presidential power. Along with the armed forces, foreign policy is also directed by the president, including the ability to negotiate treaties, which must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.
Privileges of office
Presidential authority, past and present: Air Force One flying over Mount Rushmore
The president is entitled to use the White House as his living and working quarters, and its entire staff and facilities, including medical care, kitchen, housekeeping and security staff. While travelling, the president is able to conduct the functions of the office from one of two custom-built Boeing 747 aircraft, known as Air Force One. The president also utilizes a United States Marine Corps helicopter, designated Marine One when the president is aboard. Similarly, "Navy One", "Army One," and "Coast Guard One" are the call signs used if the president is aboard a craft belonging to these services. For ground travel, the president uses an armored presidential limousine, currently a heavily modified Cadillac DTS which uses the call sign "Cadillac One."
The First U.S. Congress voted to pay George Washington a salary of $25,000 a year, about $566,000 in 2007 terms. Washington, already a wealthy man, refused to accept his salary, however, he asked for his living expenses to be covered. Theodore Roosevelt spent his entire $50,000 salary on entertaining guests at the White House. John F. Kennedy donated his salary to charities.
Presidential pay history
Date established Salary Salary in 2007
September 24, 1789
March 3, 1873
March 4, 1909
January 19, 1949
January 20, 1969
January 20, 2001
Traditionally, the president is the highest-paid government employee. President Bush currently earns $400,000 per year, along with a $50,000 expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and $19,000 for entertainment. The president's salary and total expense account serve as an unofficial cap for all other federal officials' salaries, such as that of the Chief Justice. The most recent raise in salary was approved by Congress and President Bill Clinton in 1999 and came into force in 2001; prior to the change, the president earned $200,000, plus expense accounts. This was needed because other officials who received annual cost-of-living increases had salaries approaching that of the president, and in order to raise their salaries further, his needed to be raised as well. Monetary compensation for the president is minuscule in comparison to the CEOs of most Fortune 500 companies and comparable to that of certain kinds of professionals, such as attorneys and physicians in some parts of the United States. Overall the vast majority of U.S. presidents were very affluent upon entering office and thus were not dependent on the salary.
Prior to passage by Congress of the Former Presidents Act (FPA) in 1958, retired presidents did not receive a pension. All living presidents in 1959 began to receive a pension of $25,000 per year, an office, and a staff. The pension has increased numerous times with Congressional approval. Retired presidents now receive a pension based on the salary of the current administration's cabinet secretaries (Executive Level I), which is $183,500 as of 2007. Some former presidents have also collected congressional pensions. The FPA, as amended, also provides former presidents with travel funds and mailing privileges.
The United States Secret Service is charged with protecting the sitting president and his family. Until 1997, all former presidents and their families were protected by the Secret Service until the president's death. The last president to have lifetime Secret Service protection is Bill Clinton; George W. Bush and all subsequent presidents will be protected by the Secret Service for a maximum of ten years after leaving office. However, debates in Congress have been raised concerning this decision. Following the increase in terrorism and threats to the president in general since 1997, lifetime protection is being reconsidered.
Each president since Herbert Hoover has created a repository known as a presidential library for preserving and making available their papers, records, and other documents and materials. Completed libraries are deeded to and maintained by the National Archives; the initial funding for building and equipping each library must come from private, non-federal sources. There are currently twelve presidential libraries in the NARA system. There are also a number of presidential libraries maintained by state governments and private foundations, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which is run by the State of Illinois.
After the presidency
Some presidents have had significant careers after leaving office. Prominent examples include William Howard Taft's tenure as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Herbert Hoover's work on government reorganization after World War II. More recently, Jimmy Carter has become a global human rights campaigner, international arbiter and election monitor, and a best-selling author. Other former presidents have served in elected office after leaving the White House; Andrew Johnson was elected to the Senate after his term was over, and John Quincy Adams served in the House of Representatives for eighteen years. Grover Cleveland, whose bid for reelection failed in 1888, was elected president again four years later in 1892. John Tyler served in theprovisional Confederate States Congress during the Civil War, and was elected to the official Confederate Congress but died before it convened.
" List of Presidents of the United States
" Curse of Tippecanoe
" Executive privilege
" Fiction regarding United States presidential succession
" Historical rankings of United States Presidents
" President of the Continental Congress
" Presidential $1 Coin Program
" United States presidential election, 2008
" Category:Lists relating to the United States presidency
" Category:United States presidential history