Agency / Department (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms


two chairs
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Agency: No one definition of this term has general, governmentwide applicability. “Agency” and related terms, like “executive agency” or “federal agency,” are defined in different ways in different laws and regulations. For example, the provisions of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 relating to the preparation of the President’s budget specifically define “agency” to include the District of Columbia government but exclude the legislative branch or the Supreme Court (31 U.S.C. § 1101).

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Department refers to one of the 15 executive branch Departments. The head of each Department is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Department heads are also called “Secretary” except for the head of the Justice Department who is the “Attorney General” of the United States, and they are members of the President’s Cabinet.

See “Official US Executive Branch Web Sites” from the Library of Congress.


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