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"Increment" and "Base" in the Congressional Appropriations Process

John R. Gist
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 21, No. 2 (May, 1977), pp. 341-352
DOI: 10.2307/2110498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110498
Page Count: 12
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"Increment" and "Base" in the Congressional Appropriations Process
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Abstract

This paper examines the concepts of the budget "increment" and "base" in terms of budgetary trends at the federal level over the past dozen years. By comparing the annual increments in federal budget authority and budget "uncontrollables," the paper shows that the annual budget increment, while it has historically been the locus of budgetary strategies, has been largely or entirely absorbed by disproportionate increases in uncontrollables. As a consequence, controllable items in the budget base have become a necessary target for budget reductions, particularly in times of economic stringency. The effect of this trend on congressional spending power and the consequences of the 1974 Budget Reform Act are then discussed.

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