A chief legislator most often refers to the president of the United States, who has the authority to influence members of Congress to make laws through veto power, signing a bill, speaking directly to Congress and meeting with individual members of the legislative body. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution of the United States gives the president the authority to "recommend... such measures as... necessary and expedient."
The most prominent way the president of the United States acts as chief legislator is by submitting budget proposals to Congress. After receiving budget requests, legislators then alter the recommendations based on what senators and representatives feel is more appropriate.
Several presidents have had major influence on Congress as chief legislator. Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal programs during the Great Depression created government departments, Social Security and government spending initiatives that were designed to improve the lives of Americans by offering them government jobs. Roosevelt also convinced Congress to fund military initiatives for World War II.
President George W. Bush, in the days following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, asked for declarations of war on terror and for implementation of the Patriot Act. Bush also requested Congress create a new executive department, the Department of Homeland Security. John F. Kennedy, through a speech to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961, implored the legislative body to commit to the goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth."