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One of the most important changes in Congress in decades was the extensive congressional reforms of the 1970s, which moved the congressional budget process into the focus of congressional policy-making and shifted decision-making away from committees. This overwhelming attention to the federal budget allowed party leaders to emerge as central decision makers. Palazzolo traces the changing nature of the Speaker of the House's role in the congressional budget process from the passage of the Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to the 100th Congress in 1988. In the early 1970s, the Speaker attended to primarily supportive and managerial tasks that helped establish and maintain the budget process. Yet, as the deficit grew and budget politics became more partisan in the 1980s, the Speaker became more involved in policy-related functions, such as setting budget priorities and negotiating budget agreements with Senate leaders and the president. Consequently, the Speaker's role as leader of the institution was subordinate to the role as party leader. Palazzolo develops broader theoretical insights about congressional leadership by explaining how the Speaker's roles evolved and how different Speakers - Carl Albert, Tip O'Neill, and Jim Wright - performed their roles. He asserts that leadership is produced by both the qualities of individual leaders and the institutional, political and policy-related circumstances that shape congressional politics. Leadership roles develop in response to problems and opportunities in the budget process that stem from changing conditions, but individuals partly determine how these roles are performed. "The Speaker and the Budget" incorporates an eclectic range of research findings, including personal interviews with current and former members of Congress and key staff personnel. Its descriptions of budget politics and the perspective it gives to congressional leadership should be of interest to students of Congress, budgeting, and political leadership, as well as practitioners involved in making budget policy.
University of Pittsburgh Press
1970's congressional reform, federal budget, 1974 Budget and Inpoundment Act
School of Arts and Sciences
Palazzolo, Daniel J. The Speaker and the Budget: Leadership in the Post-Reform House of Representatives. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.