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Federal Budget Policy (January 2017)

Part I. Introduction to Federal Budget Process and Policy

In our first class, we will introduce the federal budget, exploring a recent controversy over FEMA spending, looking into the basic components of the current federal budget, and reviewing the historical evolution of federal budgeting. Our emphasis initially will be on congressional budget procedures, which will be the centerpiece of classes two through four. As you read through these materials, consider how you would distinguish a good budget process from a bad one. What functions to you think a budget process should serve? What is the role of legal requirements in shaping budgeting for the government? To what extent should legal requirements constrain current political imperatives?