The White House has refused to take a position on Dick Cheney’s exemption from President Bush’s executive order, claiming that Cheney has “legislative and executive functions.” Today, GovExec reported several more instances of the White House acknowledging Cheney’s executive branch status:
On April 9, 2003: Cheney lauded a recent court ruling, stating, “I think it restored some of the legitimate authority of the executive branch, the president and the vice president, to be able to conduct their business.
On April 14, 2004: speaking in China, Cheney explained that President Dwight Eisenhower first gave the vice president an office “in the executive branch,” adding “since then the responsibilities have gradually increased.”
In 2001, Bush stated: “[w]e know the difference between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, but I do believe the President and the Vice President can play a part, a strong part, in helping advance an American agenda.”
The White House website notes: “To learn more about the executive branch please visit the president’s Cabinet page on the White House web site.” A click on the “Cabinet page” reveals Cheney to be a member of the Cabinet.
The Senate also disagrees with the White House’s ambiguous position. Its website states: “During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries the vice president’s role has evolved into more of an executive branch position, and is usually seen as an integral part of a president’s administration. … He presides over the Senate only on ceremonial occasions.”