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The People's Agents and the Battle to Protect the American PublicSpecial Interests, Government, and Threats to Health, Safety, and the Environment$
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Rena Steinzor and Sidney Shapiro

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226772028

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226772042.001.0001

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Hollow Government

Hollow Government

Chapter:
(p.54) Chapter Three Hollow Government
Source:
The People's Agents and the Battle to Protect the American Public
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226772042.003.0003

This chapter opens with an explanation of the fiscal realities the nation confronts and the dysfunctional budget process that produced them. It explores the implications of the lack of communication between the congressional committees that write the laws and the appropriations committees that fund agency efforts to implement them. It documents the claim that the five agencies are starved for resources, showing their budgets in constant dollars over time and explaining how their missions have expanded as their funding has declined. It concludes with several recommendations for reforming the system with the goal of making budget trade-offs more transparent, thereby forcing Congress to either curtail the five agencies' statutory mandates or increase their budgets, or to employ some combination of both strategies.

Keywords:   fiscal policy, budgets, congressional committees, appropriations committees, agency funding, Congress

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