Cover image for The federal budget : politics, policy, process
The federal budget : politics, policy, process
Schick, Allen.
Personal Author:
Revised edition.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
x, 307 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Conflict and resolution in federal budgeting -- The evolution of federal budgeting: from surplus to deficit to surplus -- The budget's shifting boundaries -- The political rules and arithmetic of budgeting -- The presidents' budget -- The congressional budget process -- Revenue legislation -- Authorizing legislation -- The appropriations process -- Managing federal expenditures -- The self-correcting budget process.
Reading Level:
1360 Lexile.
Added Author:

Format :


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Material Type
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HJ2051 .S3424 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
HJ2051 .S3424 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The U.S. government takes in and spends almost $2 trillion annually, and setting the budget that guides federal spending is an enormously complex undertaking. The federal budget entails the active participation of the president, key advisers, and many members of Congress, the efforts of thousands of staff in the executive and legislative branches, and the attention of numerous interest groups. It consists of thousands of big and small decisions, complicated rules and procedures, and debate over the composition and amount of public revenue and spending. With so much at stake, it is not surprising that budgeting is often a difficult, conflict-laden process. As big as the budget is, there is never enough money to satisfy all demands. As the budget has grown and become more prominent in U.S. political and economic life, the scope for conflict has expanded. In some years the budget is the centerpiece of the president's agenda as well as the vehicle for enacting much of Congress's legislative output. This revised and significantly expanded edition of The Federal Budget concerns the politics and processes of federal budgeting and the policies that emerge from them. It describes how budgeting works at each stage of executive and legislative action--from preparation of the president's budget through the appropriation and expenditure of funds--and assesses the impact of budget rules on policy decisions. It explains how the budget was transformed from deficit to surplus over the past five years and discusses various proposals to change the rules. It analyzes the changes in the appropriations process, friction between the president and Congress, and the reliance on omnibus legislation to resolve budget impasses. In addition to vital statistics and extracts from important documents, the book also features case studies that dramatize contemporary budgetary politics, providing readers with a "you are there" appreciation of how budgeting decisions are made in Washington.

Author Notes

Allen Schick is a visiting fellow in Governmental Studies at the Brookings Institution and a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Schick (public policy, Univ. of Maryland and Brookings Institute) has revised this essential volume for students of national public policy and spending, adding information on new procedural wrinkles in the budget process and analysis of budget process in an era of surpluses. His mastery of the arcana of the budget process is on abundant display here, with incisive discussion of tax and spending trends, baselines, scorekeeping, functional allocations, entitlements, contract authority, and related topics. Schick includes a helpful glossary of budget terms and a list of useful Web sites. His final chapter contains an astute analysis of possible budgetary reforms in which he considers both the sanguine short-term budgetary projections and the more ominous likely trends in entitlement spending in future decades. The book is more about process than policy, but in budgeting the two are so intertwined that Schick includes abundant discussion of both. The volume is indispensable for students and teachers of public policy and public administration, and should find its way into advanced undergraduate and graduate classrooms. For all academic libraries. S. E. Schier Carleton College

Table of Contents

1 Conflict and Resolution in Federal Budgetingp. 1
Conflictp. 2
Resolutionp. 4
The Two Worlds of Budgetingp. 5
2 The Evolution of Federal Budgeting: From Surplus to Deficit to Surplusp. 8
Legislative Dominance: 1789-1921p. 9
Presidential Dominance: 1921-74p. 14
Congress versus the President: 1974-2000p. 18
How the Budget Was Balancedp. 26
Overview of the Annual Budget Cyclep. 30
Conclusionp. 34
3 The Budget's Shifting Boundariesp. 36
Receipts, Budgetary Resources, and Outlaysp. 36
Scope of the Budgetp. 38
Measuring the Budgetp. 44
Conclusionp. 47
4 The Political Rules and Arithmetic of Budgetingp. 48
Budget Enforcement Rulesp. 49
Discretionary and Direct Spendingp. 50
The Politics of Budgetary Arithmeticp. 54
Baseline Projectionsp. 56
The Politics of Scoringp. 60
Economic Arithmeticp. 70
When Politics Meets Economicsp. 72
Conclusionp. 73
5 The President's Budgetp. 74
Presidential Roles and Stylesp. 75
Changes in Presidential Budgetingp. 79
Formulating the President's Budgetp. 81
The Office of Management and Budgetp. 86
The President's Budget in Congressp. 90
The Veto Powerp. 93
Information in the President's Budgetp. 97
Conclusionp. 98
6 The Congressional Budget Processp. 105
Why Congress Has a Budget Resolutionp. 106
Structure and Content of the Budget Resolutionp. 110
Formulating the Budget Resolutionp. 118
Floor Actionp. 119
Why the Resolution Is Rarely Adopted on Schedulep. 123
The Reconciliation Processp. 125
Enforcing Congressional Budget Decisionsp. 129
Scoring and Scorekeepingp. 134
Conclusionp. 137
7 Revenue Legislationp. 139
Revenue Legislation in Congressp. 140
PAYGO Rulesp. 146
Impact of PAYGO on Congressional Behaviorp. 147
Tax Expendituresp. 148
Rates versus Breaks: The 1980s versus the 1990sp. 150
Trends in Federal Revenuep. 152
Sources of Federal Revenuep. 154
Who Pays Federal Taxes?p. 157
User Chargesp. 160
Offsetting Collectionsp. 161
Conclusionp. 161
8 Authorizing Legislationp. 163
Types of Authorizing Legislationp. 164
Authorizing Legislation in Congressp. 172
The Relationship of Authorizations and Appropriationsp. 175
Direct Spending Legislationp. 181
Conclusionp. 185
9 The Appropriations Processp. 186
Types of Appropriations Actsp. 187
Tradition and Changep. 189
The Appropriations Committees and Their Subcommitteesp. 193
Procedures and Politics of Committee Actionp. 202
Procedures and Politics of House and Senate Actionp. 215
Supplemental and Continuing Appropriationsp. 223
Structure and Content of Appropriations Measuresp. 229
Legislation and Limitations in Appropriations Actsp. 235
Interpreting Appropriations Measuresp. 235
Conclusionp. 238
10 Managing Federal Expendituresp. 241
Spending Budget Resourcesp. 242
Managing Agency Financesp. 255
Conclusionp. 266
11 The Self-Correcting Budget Processp. 267
The Adequacy of Budget Controlsp. 270
The Future of Self-Correctionp. 272
Improving Self-Correctionp. 278
Federal Budget--Related Internet Sitesp. 285
Glossaryp. 287
Indexp. 299