Cover

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Series Page, Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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p. viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

Lance T. LeLoup

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pp. xi-xiv

The congressional budget process adopted in 1974 has been controversial and often messy. Both insiders and outsiders have derided its instability, its lack of controls, its improvisational nature, its contribution to unorthodox lawmaking, its failure to prevent deficits, and its encouragement of budgetary tricks and gimmicks—“blue smoke and mirrors”—to make it look as if Congress was doing...

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1. Macrobudgeting

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pp. 1-22

The evolution of congressional budgeting since the 1970s has been a significant component in changes in American national politics. From its traditional, fragmented authorization and appropriation process, congressional budgeting added a more centralized process focusing on large, multiyear taxing and spending packages. This has restructured congressional rules and institutions, changed...

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2. Budgeting in Congress through 1980

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pp. 23-53

It has long been recognized that Congress has a penchant for spending. Constituency interests, policy objectives, and reelection calculations created a collective action problem—demands for greater spending than available resources could support. At various stages in congressional development, formal and informal “guardianship” institutions were devised to countervail such spending pressures...

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3. Congress and the Reagan Budgets, 1981-1982

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pp. 54-81

The 1980 elections brought significant changes to the presidency and the composition of Congress, changes that would produce a shift in the direction of budget policy in the United States. The election to the presidency of a conservative Republican advocate of massive tax cuts, the emergence of the first Republican Senate in twenty-four years, and the reduction of the size of the Democratic majority...

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4. Legislating Deficit Reduction: Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, 1985 and 1987

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pp. 82-110

Four years after Reagan’s 1981 budget and economic plan was enacted by the House and Senate, and with the country nearly a trillion dollars further in debt, members of Congress seemed to be in near panic about deficits. Reagan’s landslide victory in the 1984 presidential election had not created any new political alignment or solution for reducing the deficits. The voters made it clear that they cared much more about taxes than deficits. Reagan did not appear to...

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5. The Budget Summit Agreement, 1990

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pp. 111-136

After eight years as vice president, George Bush believed that the partisanship over the budget and the deficit was destructive for the country. In his inaugural address on January 20, 1989, he extended his hand to the Democratic leaders of Congress. “We need compromise; we’ve had dissension,” he said. “We need harmony; we’ve had a chorus of discordant voices,” he continued. “When our mothers...

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6. Clinton and the Democratic Deficit Reduction Plan, 1993

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pp. 137-157

After twelve years of divided government, would unified control of Congress and the presidency under the Democrats facilitate solving the deficit problem? Although Bill Clinton had promised during the campaign to cut the deficit in half by 1996, it was his unrelenting focus on the economy, not deficit reduction, that got him elected president. Yet even before his inauguration as the 42nd...

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7. The Balanced Budget Agreement, 1997

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pp. 158-180

The Clinton deficit reduction plan and a robust economy would reverse the upward trend in deficit projections. But politically, Democrats were given little credit, and they headed into the 1994 midterm elections also burdened by a failed effort at reforming health care. The 1994 elections produced a Republican surge in Congress, ushering in a Republican majority in both House and Senate for the first time in forty years, majorities that they would hold for a decade. Once...

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8. Bush, Congress, and Tax Cuts, 2001 and 2003

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pp. 181-200

When the 107th Congress convened in January 2001, the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 had been in place for more than a quarter-century. Congressional budgeting had evolved, surviving challenges and criticisms and emerging as a core element of the legislative process and a key tool of party leaders. Over the next three years, it would again be a critical element in...

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9. Conclusion

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pp. 201-222

One of the main challenges facing national policy makers in the next decade is the return of chronic budget deficits. The recession of 2001, the September 11 attacks, the costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Bush tax cuts have all combined to turn huge budget surpluses into a sea of red ink. Will Congress and the president be able to return to a balanced budget or even shrink the deficits...

Notes

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pp. 223-242

Index

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pp. 243-250

Other Titles in the Series

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pp. 251-252