24.Budget

24.Budget - The Budget: President v. Congress Setup: The...

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Unformatted text preview: The Budget: President v. Congress Setup: The budget is the means by which we determine national priorities. If you want to change priorities, it helps to have some idea what we currently spend. Q. Where does all the money go? What proportion of the Federal Budget is devoted to domestic spending?, defense?, Welfare? etc. 1 Who spends (President or Congress), Who Cuts (President or Congress), What Hap- pens, and Why It Matters Who spends: every commentator I listen to these days says Congress spends, its an unquestioned assumption. But if you look at the budgets proposed by Presidents and the budgets that finally become law, the discrepancies between them are very small Statistically, if you want to predict how much is expended in every category, by far the best predictor is how much the Presidents budget proposed for that category. Legally, who spends? both: Appropriations are passed by Congress and signed by President. 2 The Power of the Purse The beginning of understanding of the interaction of President and Congress is this: the power to spend or not spend money is the central basis of Con- gressional power 1 In the continuing battle over who gets to make the decisions that mat- ter (i.e. power) control of appropriations is largely in the hands of Congress, and particularly the House. That power is both extremely important in its own right, and also the basis for other kinds of congressional influence IF Congress controls the purse, then Presidents and bureaucrats must respect congressional preferences in all other areas. And if it doesnt, it becomes a debating society with little real control over the things that matter. How do you control the purse? Logic is simple: Control comes from cutting budgets, not passing them as requested. If Congress gives Presidents what they want, then it ceases to have any power that matters. But if it cuts requests, it imposes its own priorities and puts the Pres- ident and administration in position always of begging for more. Forget about Barak Obama and the current Congress. This struggle is insti- tutional, between all presidents and all Congresses, even with unified party control. The vehicle for this influence is the appropriation : An appropriation is a law, passed in identical form in both houses and signed by President. In great detail it lays out what money can be spent by what agencies, under what conditions, for what purposes. (e.g. no monies appro- priated herein shall be used for the purpose of making or proposing rules of what constitutes a Rural Referral Hospital under section 3 of Title 2 of the Medicare Act. CMS cant do it because its purpose is outside congressional wishes.) 2 What do agencies do? They follow it. They must; its the law....
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This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course POLI 100 taught by Professor Rabinowitz during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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24.Budget - The Budget: President v. Congress Setup: The...

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