The Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

This is where the President gets his priorities implemented. It is the biggest part of the executive office of the President. The OMB implements and enforces Presidential policy through five processes.

  1. Budget development and execution in all areas from economic recovery to health care to National Security.
  2. Management which oversees the agency performance, Federal procurement, financial management and information/IT.
  3. Coordination and review of all significant Federal regulations by executive agencies to reflect Presidential priorities, assess and ensure other impacts (economic, etc.), and information collection requests as part of regulatory decision making.
  4. Legislative clearance and coordination to ensure consistency of views and proposals with presidential policy (congressional communications, testimony, and draft bills).
  5. Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda to agency officials (the way the President directs actions by Executive Branch officials).

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

CBO produces policy analyses, cost estimates of legislation, and budget and economic projections that serve as a basis for the Congress's decisions about spending and taxes. Every piece of legislation affecting the use of the nation's resources undergoes CBO's scrutiny. The agency is a public-sector think tank that employs an elite, multidisciplinary staff of professional analysts--public-policy and budget experts, economists, and other critical thinkers who enjoy challenges--at levels ranging from undergraduate and graduate interns to researchers with doctorates and substantial experience. (cited from the website under Who We Are)

That citation was the best way to get an inkling of what this agency is all about. What the "elite" staff does is huge. Briefly, they perform in-depth studies, analysis, projections, and cost estimates for the submitted budget by the President. The proposals are put forth to Congress initially in a publication, Budget and Economic Outlook, issued in January and updated in the summer. The CBO's Outlook is a big deal that offers a 10 year federal economic forecast, and more. It is available through the website.

Library of CongressCredit:

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO)

This agency is dubbed the "congressional watchdog" because it investigates how the feds spend taxpayer dollars. The agency is independent, nonpartisan, and works for Congress. The chief of
GAO is the Comptroller General of the United States (a 15 year term appointment by the President).

The GAO supports Congress to meet constitutional responsibilities and to ensure accountability of the federal government. This is the agency that advises Congress and other Executive heads how to make it more responsive, ethical, equitable, effective, and efficient: how to save billions for the taxpayers and government via improvement of government operations.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. (cited from the home page on the website)

The agency manages over 245 million surface land acres and 700 million sub surface acres of mineral estate in the U.S. It has about 10,000 employees and nicely enough, it generates more revenue than it spends.

One of it's focused priorities is Climate Change. It states that climate change is affecting public lands in ways that could impact on Americans’ quality of life. It's nice to know that this very powerful agency is alert to this big change, and responding with some initiatives.

The careers offered include; surveyor, biologists, fire and aviation professionals, Field Managers, District Managers, State Managers, and rangers. Those are some of the most common.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The BLS is another independent statistical agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and sharing economic information to support public and private decision making. It is the foremost Federal agency for measuring economic price changes, labor market activity (pay, benefits, unemployment, workplace injuries), and working conditions.

You can check out the U.S. economy at a glance or a selected state by viewing charts that are fairly layperson friendly. The charts have the unemployment rate, change in payroll employment, average hourly earnings, consumer price index, producer site index, and the U.S. import price index. It's not a bad site for stats!

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

This independent agency regulates interstate transmission of oil, natural gas and electricity. That is a brief sentence of what it does. What it doesn't do is what the State Public Utility Commission does, like regulate natural gas and electricity sales to customers, or provide oversight for the construction of oil pipelines. There are other areas outside of FERC's responsibility listed on the website that are worth reading.

Interstate commerce of electricity and natural gas sales, acquisitions and mergers are sometimes reviewed by FERC. State, private, and municipal hydroelectric projects are inspected and licensed by FERC. Among the many regulatory procedures the agency provides, enforcement is also big.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

This was created in 1974 to protect people and the environment from non-safe radioactive materials use. It is a big regulatory agency covering three specific areas; commercial reactors,
uses of nuclear materials, and nuclear waste transportation, disposal, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities.

The Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)

This is considered an actual government agency responsible for collecting U.S. payroll taxes. FICA are the tax provisions of the Social Security Act, as they appear in the Internal Revenue Code. Here is a video explaining the tax.

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

Wow, a branch of the Library of Congress that provides nonpartisan research reports to House and Senate members. This is a legislative branch agency so it provides 24/7 access of policy and legal analysis. I would like that service provided to all U.S. citizens. Wouldn't that be nice to have an analysis of a policy such as immigration reform to really understand what it is all about?

Centers For Medicare (CMS)

Believe it or not, this is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and human Services. This federal agency administers Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance program. It provides health care for 100 million people, and of course has regulations, guidance and standards among it's many services.