The Executive Branch

Bringing the West Wing to West Philadelphia, the Executive Branch Program will be returning to the Penn Model Congress this March. Led by a delegate elected President of the United States, this program will consist of Cabinet Officers and the President's closest advisors. The group will meet regularly IN PLACE OF COMMITTEE SESSIONS to advise the President on policy and political matters. From handling the national debt and budget negotiations to directing the United States' role on the world stage, the Executive Branch will seek to tackle some of the most difficult issues facing our nation today. Most importantly, the cabinet will help the President decide whether to sign or veto any and all legislation that is passed by the Congress.

What direction will YOU lead the country?


Because of the high interest in this exciting program, each school is invited to nominate ONE delegate to act as an Executive Branch official. In order to participate, delegates will have to fill out an application indicating (among other things) which of the available roles they are interested in filling. More information on the application process can be found below. This simulation offers a unique chance for the most experienced, knowledgeable, and active delegates to work in-depth on crafting US policy - please keep this in mind when considering whether to apply.

The Executive Branch program consists of the following officers and advisors:

  • President of the United States *
  • Vice President of the United States *
  • White House Chief of Staff *
  • Secretary of State *
  • Secretary of Defense *
  • National Security Advisor *
  • US Ambassador to the United Nations *
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Energy
  • Secretary of Education
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Many of the members of the Cabinet will also participate in the National Security Council and National Economic Council programs. Beyond this, participants may not participate in more than one special program.

Becoming an Executive Branch Official

To become an Executive Branch official, you must submit an application expressing your interest, outlining your qualifications, and indicating your preferences for which positions you see yourself filling. The application can be uploaded here shortly.

More information about applying to the Executive Branch coming soon

The Presidential Election Process

Penn Model Congress staff will select two individuals from those who applied for the Presidency to run against each other during Opening Ceremonies. Each of these two candidates will select a running mate from their delegation. During Opening Ceremonies, each candidate will be given the opportunity to deliver a four-minute speech outlining his/her candidacy and asking for the other delegates' votes. Then, the entire conference will fill out ballots, which will be tallied during the conference keynote address. The winner of the election will be announced at the end of opening ceremonies.

Students who apply to run for President but are not selected by Penn Model Congress staff will still be able to participate in the Executive Branch program (filling one of the other roles in the Cabinet). The candidate for President who was selected to run but lost the election will still serve in the Executive Branch Program as Chief of Staff. As stated above, for the first time, in Penn Model Congress 2015, that delegate's running mate, the losing Vice Presidential nominee, will also serve in the Executive Branch Program as Press Secretary.

Campaigning for President

If a student from your delegation is selected as one of the two candidates running for President, we invite the rest of your delegation to campaign on behalf of the candidate. Note that due to the early timing of the election, there is a relatively small window to campaign. Please note that these rules have been revised for Penn Model Congress 2015. We expect all delegations to abide by the following official Penn Model Congress Campaign Rules and Regulations:

  • No campaigning is permitted in the basement lobby of the Sheraton.
  • No posters or flyers may be attached to the walls, windows, or doors of either the Sheraton or the Inn at Penn.
  • While campaigning electronically is permitted, no print campaigning (i.e. flyers, buttons, etc.) or handouts are allowed.
  • Candidates may greet other delegates in the hotel lobbies, as well as prior to Opening Ceremonies outside Irvine Auditorium.
  • Door-to-door canvassing of the hotels is strictly prohibited, as not all rooms are occupied by PENNMC participants.
  • Candidates are strictly forbidden from offering delegates anything in exchange for their votes (including monetary gifts, pledges to vote for certain pieces of legislation, or any other material or non-material commitments).

In addition to the rules stated above, we expect all delegates to abide by a reasonable code of ethical standards and integrity throughout the election process.

Pre-Conference Preparation

Participating in the Executive Branch will require significant preparatory work before the conference. Delegates will receive a packet of materials well in advance of the conference presenting an overview of US policy in a variety of areas. In addition, each delegate will receive specialized information pertaining to the specific role he/she is filling. In order to be ready for the intense nature of the program, participating delegates are expected to be intimately familiar with US policy within their office's jurisdiction. Because of this, it is recommended that each school nominate a delegate that is eager to take on more challenging debate and has consistently performed admirably in conference debate in the past.

More detailed information about specific issues the Executive Branch will be addressing will be forthcoming within the next few weeks. Rest assured that all participating delegates will receive adequate information pertaining to their individual responsibilities shortly after they are assigned a position.


It is important to note that the Executive Branch will meet during all committee and full sessions. Delegates that become members of the Executive Branch will not be participating in traditional committee and full sessions. During standard committee sessions, the Executive Branch members will work to draft new proposals dealing with one major domestic issue and one major international issue. In addition to composing these pieces of legislation, the cabinet will review all bills passed in the Senate and House committee sessions and debate whether or not they should be signed into law by the President. During standard full sessions, the cabinet will be split up into smaller groups to visit the full sessions and provide information to the delegates about large scale policy goals, testimonials, executive updates, etc... During all cabinet sessions and full session visits, executive branch members are expected to remain in character; other delegates and PENNMC staff will recognize you as the President (for example), and you are expected to act accordingly. However, during evening activities such as the delegate dance, participants are not expected to role-play their Executive Branch positions.

During the Executive Branch meeting time, all delegates must be fully prepared to help lead a discussion about key issues relating to their area of expertise. For example, if the President were to indicate that one of his top priorities is to reform the Healthcare system, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should be able to help lead a discussion and formulate a plan of action that may be sent to the Congress for consideration. Another aspect of the Executive Branch program involves the President's constitutional authority to veto legislation passed by the Congress.

Final Thoughts

The Executive Branch program promises to be one of the most exciting and interesting components of Penn Model Congress 2019. Participating delegates will have the unique opportunity to act as high-ranking United States officials, shaping US policy with a more hands-on approach. You can also visit the real Presidential Cabinet's website by clicking here.