Presidential Fiscal Accoutability Following the Budget Act of 1974
In response to the claim by President Nixon that he possessed independent authority to refuse to spend appropriated funds, Congress passed the Budget Act of 1974 to limit impoundment actions and revise the legislative budget process. The objective was to strengthen congressional power over the President, but in practice the new system held a potential for increased executive. Precisely that took place during the administration of Ronald Reagan. The result: a loss of budget control and a tripling of the national debt during his two terms in office. Overall, the new budget process has substantially reduced the President’s accountability in providing needed leadership over budget aggregates, particularly the deficit.