Part I. Introduction to Federal Budget Process and Policy | Howell E. Jackson | January 08, 2015

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Part I. Introduction to Federal Budget Process and Policy

Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson Show/Hide

For our first few classes, we will introduce the topic of the federal budget, exploring a recent controversy over FEMA spending, looking into the basic components of the current federal budget, and reviewing the historical evolution of federal budgeting.


As you read through these materials, consider how you would distinguish a good budget process from a bad one. What functions to you think a budget process should serve? What is the role of legal requirements in shaping budgeting for the government? To what extent should legal requirements constrain current political imperatives?

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  1. 1 Show/Hide More Class One -- Thursday, January 30th
    Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
    For our initial class, please review the materials on FEMA Recoupment and then look over the CBO Update from May 2013. You should also skim the version of the U.S. Constitution, which has been edited town to highlight the provisions related to fiscal policy.
    1. 1.1 Show/Hide More Dispute Over FEMA Recoupment
      Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
      Read over materials on FEMA Recoupment . What was Senator Pryor upset with FEMA's practices with respect to the recoupment of overpayments? What does the Office of Inspector General conclude in its report? Should agencies like FEMA have more latitude to forgive debts?
  2. 2 Show/Hide More Class Two -- Friday, January 31st
    Original Creator: Howell E. Jackson Current Version: Howell E. Jackson
    This class is an introduction to the evolution of budgeting in the United States. The principal reading is from Chapter Two of Allen Schick, The Federal Budget: Politics, Policy, Process (3rd ed., 2007), but you should also read over several contemporaneous treatments of budget policy in the post-World War II era, emphasizing the evolution from traditional budgeting circa 1964 (described in the excerpt from Aaron Widavsky's classic work) through the Seven-Year Budget War that followed (chronicled in the Allen Schick excerpt and epitomized by Train v. City of New York, 420 U.S. 35 (1975)). You need only skim the excerpts from the 1958 Congressional Digest.
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January 08, 2015

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Howell E. Jackson

James S. Reid, Jr. Professor of Law

Harvard University

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