The Progressive Policy Institute’s Smith believes that the president and the nation could benefit from strengthening the role played by the president’s executive committee — the Cabinet. “Generally speaking,” Smith says, “I think that presidents have not made good use of the Cabinet.”
In the past 50 years, Smith argues in his 2012 essay The Fine Art of Cabinet-Making: Five Ways to Build a Stronger Executive Team, the power of the presidential Cabinet has waned while the power of professional White House staffers has waxed, narrowing the breadth of opinions and views.
These days, Smith writes, Cabinet “meetings are often little more than occasional photo ops to bring together POTUS, the VP, the heads of the 15 executive departments and a few other ‘cabinet-rank’ officials such as the heads of the Office of Management and Budget and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ambassador for the United Nations, and the U.S. Trade Representative.”
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