Class Three -- Wednesday, January 6, 2016 | Howell E. Jackson | November 03, 2015

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Class Three -- Wednesday, January 6, 2016

by Howell E. Jackson Show/Hide

In today’s class, we will continue our discussion of the evolution of congressional procedures since 1974. As part of our discussion, we will focus our attention on the The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which is explored in Kate Stith, Our Fiscal Constitution, 76 Cal. L. Rev. 593 (1988), and also the subject of the Supreme Court's Decision in Bowshar v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986). As you review these materials, consider how you would evaluate the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act as a matter of public policy. Why did the Supreme Court find aspects of the legislation to be unconstitutional?

One of the principal innovations of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act was a process known as sequestration. As recounted in the Dews & McConnell briefing paper on Sequestration and the Budget Control Act of 2011, this procedure has been adapted over time and remains a part of modern budget practice.

Team Assignment (Teams C, G, I & K): Please write a short (3-5 page) memorandum comparing the 2011 Budget Act sequestration procedures with those originally in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. How would you evaluate the changes?

For background reading, the Baron and McCaffrey chapter from Fiscal Challenges attempts to test the theoretical underpinnings of the “Starve the Beast” strategy that is sometimes said to underlying measures like Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. Fiscal Challenges is available in the Coop and on reserve in Langdell Library. How compelling is the strategy as well as the Baron/McCaffrey assessment?

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December 30, 2015

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Howell E. Jackson

James S. Reid, Jr. Professor of Law

Harvard University

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