Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1988

Keywords

appropriations legislation, presidential veto, congress

Abstract

We investigate the extent to which possession of the veto allows the president to influence congressional decisions regarding regular annual appropriations legislation. The most important implication of our analysis is that the influence the veto conveys is asymmetrical: it allows the president to restrain Congress when he prefers to appropriate less to an agency than Congress does; it does not provide him an effective means of extracting higher appropriations from Congress when he prefers to spend more than it does. This asymmetry derives from constitutional limitations on the veto, in combination with the presence of a de facto reversionary expenditure level contained inthe appropriations process (Fenno, 1966). We find strong support for this proposition in a regression of presidential requests upon congressional appropriations decisions.