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The Shrunken Power of the Purse

13 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2009  

Alan Feld

Boston University - School of Law

Date Written: March 18, 2009


The Constitution places control of the federal government's funds in the hands of Congress. This article examines Congress' exercise of discretion in connection with expenditures, impoundments, debt and taxation. It concludes that its actual control over the government's funds has become limited over time and makes recommendations for more robust exercise of its traditional authority.

Keywords: expenditure, impoundment, debt limit, taxation, power of the purse

JEL Classification: K19, K34, K49

Suggested Citation

Feld, Alan, The Shrunken Power of the Purse (March 18, 2009). Boston University Law Review, Vol. 89, pp. 101-112, 2009; Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 09-14. Available at SSRN:

Alan Feld (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

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