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Independent agencies of the United States federal government are agencies that exist outside the federal executive departments (those headed by a Cabinet secretary) and the Executive Office of the President.: 6 In a narrower sense, the term refers only to those independent agencies that, while considered part of the executive branch, have regulatory or rulemaking authority and are insulated from presidential control, usually because the president's power to dismiss the agency head or a member is limited.
Established through separate statutes passed by the Congress, each respective statutory grant of authority defines the goals the agency must work towards, as well as what substantive areas, if any, over which it may have the power of rulemaking. These agency rules (or regulations), when in force, have the power of federal law.