Since most senior members of any appropriations subcommittee are from "safe districts," the relationship between subcommittee and agency officials is a continuing one. Administrators stress the importance of a "good working relationship" with subcommittee members who handle the annual agency appropriations.1 One means to attain this relationship is to implement the subcommittee's nonstatutory recommendations. On the other hand, a sure way to create Congressional antipathy and restrictions is to frequently disregard report language.
Since administrators prefer the flexibility inherent in nonstatutory controls, a subcommittee will employ fewer statutory restrictions when it can trust the agency to follow legislative intent. Other frequent benefits of "a good working relationship" are increased appropriations, greater ability to transfer funds, and some additional freedom from central executive controls.
Professor Fenno has stressed that agency perceptions of the appropriations committee are dominated by a sense of uncertainty. A major agency goal is a stable relationship with the committee to permit orderly program planning and operation. One obvious way to minimize uncertainty is to follow nonstatutory guidance given by the committee.2
This does not mean, however, that the appropriations subcommittees never encounter enforcement problems. Even though statutory controls are self-enforcing as the law of the land, the General Accounting Office and the Treasury check on____________________