2.13 Discretionary and Rule-Making Authority

1 min readdecember 9, 2020


Samantha Howey

AP US Government 👩🏾‍⚖️

240 resources
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After the president signs a bill into law or issues an executive order, the federal bureaucracy is responsible for implementing that policy. However, some laws may lack clear, concrete details on how they should be enacted.

How do these powers work?

The federal bureaucracy has discretionary authority to make decisions on what actions to take—or not take—when implementing laws. The bureaucracy has rule-making authority to create regulations about how government programs should operate. These powers enhance the power of the federal bureaucracy, giving it considerable jurisdiction over the implementation of government policies.
Discretionary and rule-making authority over implementing policy is given to many parts of the federal bureaucracy. Here are a few examples: the Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Elections Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Key Ideas

Discretionary authority is an agency's ability to decide whether or not to take certain courses of action when implementing existing laws.
Rule-making Authority is an agency’s ability to make rules that affect how programs operate, and to force states and corporations to obey these rules as if they were laws.
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