executive agreement


: an agreement between the U.S. and a foreign government made by the executive branch either alone or with Congressional approval and dealing usually with routine matters

Examples of executive agreement in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Anticipating partisan opposition, presidents now usually avoid the congressional approval process altogether by entering into political commitments or executive agreements instead. Rachel Myrick, Foreign Affairs, 14 June 2021 On a formatting level, the IPEF is an executive agreement and will not require congressional approval like a traditional trade agreement would, CSIS notes. Brigid Kennedy, The Week, 27 May 2022 Thus, though the JCPOA was technically an unenforceable multilateral executive agreement, Obama and Biden were able to project it as bearing Congress’s imprimatur and the status of international law. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 7 Mar. 2022 Tehran has realized that an executive agreement like the JCPOA has no legal force in the U.S. Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2021 Because it was set up as an executive agreement, not a treaty, congressional approval is not required, Mr. Purvis said. The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Nov. 2020 There was a significant outcry from Democrats and the Obama administration in 2015 when Republicans -- led by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton -- wrote to Iranian leadership explaining the difference between an executive agreement and a treaty. Adam Shaw, Fox News, 5 May 2018 Because of Republican opposition Obama could not get Congress to ratify it as a treaty, so billed it an executive agreement, meaning it could be overturned by a successor. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 21 Sep. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'executive agreement.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1942, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of executive agreement was in 1942

Dictionary Entries Near executive agreement

Cite this Entry

“Executive agreement.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/executive%20agreement. Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Legal Definition

executive agreement

: an agreement (as an armistice) between the U.S. and a foreign government that is made by the president and usually deals with a subject within the president's powers compare treaty

Note: An executive agreement does not carry the same weight as a treaty unless it is supported by a joint resolution. Unlike a treaty, an executive agreement can supersede a conflicting state law but not a federal law.

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