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In the past thirty years, Congress has dramatically changed its response to unpopular deficit spending. While the landmark Congressional Budget Act of 1974 tried to increase congressional budgeting powers, new budget processes created in the 1980s and 1990s were all explicitly designed to weaken member, majority, and institutional budgeting prerogatives. These later reforms shared the premise that Congress cannot naturally forge balanced budgets without new automatic mechanisms and enhanced presidential oversight. So Democratic majorities in Congress gave new budgeting powers to Presidents Reagan and Bush, and then Republicans did the same for President Clinton.
Passing the Buck examines how Congress is increasing delegation of a wide variety of powers to the president in recent years. Jasmine Farrier assesses why institutional ambition in the early 1970s turned into institutional ambivalence about whether Congress is equipped to handle its constitutional duties.
Jasmine Farrier is assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisville.
"While congressional delegation and abdication, particularly in the area of war powers, has long been noted, Farrier's research provides evidence that the problem extends into other congressional prerogatives as well."—APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter
"An excellent account of the political tensions inherent in the modern congressional budget process. Farrier offers an important exceedingly intelligent study of a central concern for US governance and the balance of power. Highly recommended."—Choice
"A comprehensive and important study of how Congress has reformed the budget process over the past several decades. Passing the Buck offers an informative perspective on the formal changes that have been made in the congressional budget process."—Daniel Palazzolo, author of The Speaker and the Budget: Leadership in the Post-
"A timely and compelling example of first-rate scholarship."—Lawrence C. Dodd
"Well written, comprehensive, and clear in her approach. Policymakers, policy analysts, students, academics, and researchers interested in the federal budget process will benefit from reading this book."—Perspectives on Political Science
"Well written and researched and raises interesting questions about delegation of authority in congressional research, as well as the history of congressional budgeting."—Perspectives on Politics
"Farrier sets out to understand why Congress 'tells the country that it is not well suited to making tough decisions on major policy questions.' . . . A highly informative read."—Political Science Quarterly
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
United States Congress, Budget deficits, United States presidents
Farrier, Jasmine, "Passing the Buck: Congress, the Budget, and Deficits" (2004). American Politics. 30.