I would like to thank the School of Public Affairs and the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University for supporting
the research for this analysis. This chapter is partially based on interviews
with White House staff, House and Senate members, staff, and informed
observers. I am grateful for the time they gave and for their observations
about the congressional budget process. I would especially like to thank
Dr. Patrick J. Griffin, assistant to the president for legislative affairs, for his
insights about the relationship between President Clinton's White House,
Congress, and interest groups in the congressional budget process.
One of the important reforms instituted by the 1974 Budget Act was the
creation of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). This agency serves as Congress's principal source of information and analysis on the budget, and on
spending and revenue legislation. The CBO has a specific mandate to assist the
House and Senate Budget Committees and the Spending and Revenue committees. Secondarily, it responds to requests for information from other committees
and individual members of Congress. Prior to the creation of CBO, Congress
was forced to rely on the president's budget estimates and economic forecasts
and the annual analysis of the economy and fiscal policy done by the Joint Economic Committee.
Another measure of budget deficit problems is the imbalance of outlays
and receipts as a percentage of the gross national product (GNP). The deficit is
declining as a percentage of GNP. For example, outlays were 24.3 percent of the
GNP and receipts were 18.1 percent of the GNP in 1983; 23.7 percent outlays to
18.4 percent revenues in 1986; and 22.2 percent outlays to 19.2 percent revenues
in 1989. See U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office, The Economic and
Budget Outlook: Fiscal Years 1991-1995 ( January 1990), appendix E, table E-2,
There are three kinds of back-door spending techniques: Contract authority permits agencies to enter into contracts that subsequently must be liquidated
by appropriations. Borrowing authority allows agencies to spend money they
have borrowed from the public or the Treasury. Mandatory entitlements grant
eligible individuals and governments the right to receive payments from the national government.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: The Interest Group Connection:Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington.
Contributors: Paul S. Herrnson - Editor, Ronald G. Shaiko - Editor, Clyde Wilcox - Editor.
Publisher: Chatham House Publishers.
Place of publication: Chatham, NJ.
Publication year: 1998.
Page number: 173.
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