An accord made by joint authority of the Congress and the president covering areas ofinternational lawthat are not within the ambit of treaties.
A congressional-executive agreement comes about in different ways. Congress may authorize the president to conclude a particular agreement already negotiated, as when a multilateral agreement establishes an international organization such as the international monetary fund. Congress sometimes has approved presidential agreements by legislation or appropriation of funds to carry out its obligations.
It is now widely accepted that a congressional-executive agreement is a complete alternative to a treaty: the president can seek approval of any agreement by joint resolution of both Houses of Congress instead of by a two-thirds vote of the Senate alone. Like a treaty, such an agreement is the law of the land, superseding inconsistent state laws as well as inconsistent provisions in earlier treaties, other international agreements, or acts of Congress.