The American government has many regulatory duties and, in this article, you will discover how various independent agencies and government corporations assist in providing these essential services and regulations.
Independent Agencies and Government Corporations
The executive departments are the federal government’s primary operating units, but many other agencies have essential responsibilities for keeping the government and the economy working smoothly. These are often called independent agencies since they are not part of the executive departments. As of 2013, at least 70 independent federal agencies addressed issues ranging from the arts and humanities to pensions for railroad workers.
The nature and purpose of these agencies vary greatly. Some are regulatory groups with powers to supervise certain sectors of the economy. Others provide special services either to the government or to the people. In most cases, the agencies have been created by Congress to deal with matters that have become too complex for the scope of ordinary legislation. In 1970, for example, Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency to coordinate government action to protect the environment.
The following agencies are among the most important ones:
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) coordinates certain government departments and agencies’ intelligence activities, collects, correlates and evaluates intelligence information relating to national security and makes recommendations to the National Security Council within the Office of the President.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) works with state and local governments through the United States to control and abate pollution in the air and water and deal with solid waste, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances. EPA sets and enforces standards for air and water quality, evaluates the impact of pesticides and chemical substances and manages the “Superfund” program for cleaning toxic waste sites.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. It licenses radio and television broadcast stations, assigns radio frequencies and enforces regulations designed to ensure that cable rates are reasonable. The FCC regulates common carriers such as telephone and telegraph companies as well as wireless telecommunications service providers.
The Federal Reserve Board is the Federal Reserve System’s governing body, the central bank of the United States. It conducts the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the volume of credit and money in circulation. The Federal Reserve regulates private banking institutions, works to contain systematic risk in financial markets and provides certain financial services to the US government, the public and financial institutions.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces federal antitrust and consumer protection laws by investigating complaints against individual companies initiated by consumers, businesses, congressional inquiries, or media reports. The commission seeks to ensure that the nation’s markets function competitively by eliminating unfair or deceptive practices.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for the purchase, supply, operation and maintenance of the federal property, buildings and equipment and for the sale of surplus items. GSA also manages the federal motor vehicle fleet and oversees telecommuting centers and child care centers.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established in 1958 to run the US space program. It placed the first American satellites and astronauts in orbit and it launched the Apollo spacecraft that landed men on the moon in 1969. Today, NASA works to solve challenges in the US air transportation system such as air traffic congestion, conducts International Space Station operations with other countries, explores the Earth, solar system and the universe beyond and develops high-payoff technologies.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) preserves the nation’s history by overseeing all federal records management. The holdings of the National Archives include original textual materials, motion picture films, sound and video recordings, maps, still pictures and computer date. The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights are preserved and displayed at the National Archives building in Washington, DC.
What do you think about the above agencies? Please share your opinions and don’t forget to come back for part 2!