This class is an introduction to the modern budget process that began with the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. The “Seven Year Budget War” between Presidents Johnson and Nixon and Congress culminated in the watershed 1974 statute that introduced the present-day budget process. The first reading, excerpts from Allen Schick's “Seven Year Budget Wars,” chronicles the battles between the executive and legislative branches that led to the 1974 Budget Act. Focus particularly on pages 51-81 of the excerpt, summarizing the 1974 budget legislation. The second reading is Chapter One of “Fiscal Challenges,” “The Congressional Budget Process” by William Dauster, which offers an overview of the aftermath of the 1974 Budget Act and the modern-day budget calendar. Team Assignment (Teams B & F): Please prepare to explain to the class how the 1974 Budget Act addresses the problems underlying the Seven Year Budget Wars. The second cornerstone of modern budgeting is the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, which is explored in Kate Stith, our Fiscal Constitution, 76 Cal. L. Rev. 593 (1988). Focus on the mechanics of the Act, as outlined in Parts II and III
of the article (pages 621 to 651.) One of the principal innovations of the G-R-H 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 procedures as been adapted over time and remains a part of modern budget practice. Team Assignment (Teams C & G): Please be prepared to compare for the rest of the class the 2011 Budget Act sequestration procedures with those originally in the Gramm-Rudmann-Hollings Act.Background: For those interested in the leading judicial cases on these topics, see Train v. City of New York, 420 U.S. 35 (1975), which addresses the legality of President Nixon's decision to “impound” certain spending, and Bowshar v. Synar, 478 U.S. 714 (1986), which concerns sequestration procedures under the original G-R-H Act.
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