Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act

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Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act,

officially the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, U.S. budget deficit reduction measure. The law provided for automatic spending cuts to take effect if the president and Congress failed to reach established targets; the U.S. comptroller general was given the right to order spending cuts. Because the automatic cuts were declared unconstitutional, a revised version of the act was passed in 1987; it failed to result in reduced deficits. A 1990 revision of the act changed its focus from deficit reduction to spending control.
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Warren Rudman, R-N.H., who led one of the early efforts to control federal spending by helping to craft the Gramm-Rudman legislation of the late 1980s, said that a new president comes to office with a finite amount of "political kinetic energy," fueled by the goodwill of the American people who are hoping for good results.
Somewhere between operations Desert Shield (the defense of Saudi Arabia) and Desert Storm (the war with Iraq over its invasion of Kuwait), it was quietly decided that we needed to kill Gramm-Rudman until this military situation was past.
The one instance of passion in this book comes when Ehrman flays the Gramm-Rudman automatic-budget-cut bill as "one of the most disgraceful and irresponsible laws ever passed."
In Part II, we apply our analysis to a wide range of entrenchment-related problems, including the validity of the Senate cloture rules, the Gramm-Rudman law, legislatively enacted canons of statutory interpretation, statutes that regulate internal congressional procedures, government contracts, treaties, and entrenchment within the executive and judicial branches.
After briefly summarizing his family background, formative years, and pre-Washington career, Rudman paints four pictures of the contemporary Senate at work: the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction law; the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair; the nomination of David Souter, his close friend, to the Supreme Court; and the ethics problems raised by the so-called Keating Five.
Because it was an election year and both parties were about to miss the Gramm-Rudman deficit targets, after already resetting those targets 2 years previously when they couldn't meet them then, either.
"And we need a leader who is tough enough to get the job done." Borrowing the line with which speechwriter Peggy Noonan rescued George Bush's manhood, Gramm declares, "I am that leader." He recites his usual litany of accomplishments: authoring Reagan's budget cuts as a Democrat in 1981; switching parties to honor his conservative principles in 1983; writing the Gramm-Rudman deficit-reduction law in 1985; standing alone against Bill Clinton's health care reform bill early in 1994.
The lesson from both state-level experience and the federal Gramm-Rudman experiment is that numerous evasions can and will be found.
It is worthwhile to note that one of the prime features of George Bush's 1990 budget deal with Congress--besides doing away with the effective Gramm-Rudman spending limits--was a record tax hike, similar to Bill Clinton's.
In 1990, once Congress realized it couldn't keep pace with G-R's schedule--and realized how ugly across the board cuts would be--it voted itself out of the Gramm-Rudman noose.
They call our attention to the simply disgusting duplicity of the administration and most of both parties in Congress in disguising real budget deficits with saved-ahead Social Security Trust Funds to "meet" Gramm-Rudman targets-a practice that does matter, economically and morally, because we're making future workers pay back what we have proudly claimed we were now investing.
The so-called Gramm-Rudman bill to eliminate the federal deficit by 1991 was passed by Congress.