The tradition of the United States Cabinet dates back to the founding of the country itself. One of its original purposes (U.S. Constitution Article II, Section 2) is to advise the President on any subject he or she may require relating to the duties of their respective offices.
The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments:
- Health and Human Services
- Homeland Security
- Housing and Urban Development
- Veterans Affairs
- Justice (Attorney General)
Under President George W. Bush, Cabinet-level rank also has been accorded to the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; Director, Office of Management and Budget; the Director, National Drug Control Policy; and the U.S. Trade Representative. It's not known if these positions will maintain their rank or if others will be added during the Obama administration.
Which president first established a Cabinet?
George Washington held the first recorded meeting of a "Cabinet" in 1791.