The Reiterative Nature of Budget Reform: Is There Anything New in Federal Budgeting?


  • Philip G. Joyce

    1. Analyst in the Budget Process Unit of the Congressional Budget Office, Room 441, Ford House Office Building, U.S. Congress, Washington, DC 20515.
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This article will attempt to demonstrate the limitations of budget reforms to bring about fundamental change in budget outcomes. In an effort to determine the extent to which these reforms have had any lasting effect, the author first discusses the history of federal budgeting since the advent of the executive budget in 1921. Second, the author reviews three reforms that are prominent in the U.S. Congress current budget debate—enacting fixed budget targets, granting the president increased power in the budget process through enacting a line item veto, or implementing a performance-based budget. Lastly, the author will cite the limitations of each to bring about lasting changes in budget outcomes or decision processes.