Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

What a President
Can Do
and Cannot Do

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A PRESIDENT CAN . . .
  • make treaties with the approval of the Senate.
  • veto bills and sign bills.
  • represent our nation in talks with foreign countries.
  • enforce the laws that Congress passes.
  • act as Commander-in-Chief during a war.
  • call out troops to protect our nation against an attack.
  • make suggestions about things that should be new laws.
  • lead his political party.
  • entertain foreign guests.
  • recognize foreign countries.
  • grant pardons.
  • nominate Cabinet members and Supreme Court Justices and other high officials.
  • appoint ambassadors.
  • talk directly to the people about problems.
  • represent the best interest of all the people

A PRESIDENT CANNOT . . .
  • make laws.
  • declare war.
  • decide how federal money will be spent.
  • interpret laws.
  • choose Cabinet members or Supreme Court Justices without Senate approval.