Legislative Entrenchment and Federal Fiscal Policy

43 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2018

See all articles by Michael Doran

Michael Doran

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: February 5, 2018


This article examines the problem of legislative entrenchment through a particular focus on federal fiscal policy. The conventional academic debate about legislative entrenchment centers on hard entrenchment, but hard entrenchment is highly improbable – perhaps simply impossible – under the constitutional framework for federal legislation. By contrast, soft entrenchment is far more common. Of particular importance for fiscal policy is the incidental soft entrenchment induced by the structures of legislative organization, such as the congressional committee system and institutional voting procedures. Such structures bring stability to the federal budget process, to social-welfare entitlements, and to tax expenditures. Weakening those structures in order to make fiscal policy more flexible may compromise internal legislative stability, legislative information, and legislative dealmaking.

Keywords: legislative entrenchment, fiscal policy, legislative organization

JEL Classification: H11, H50, H60, K34

Suggested Citation

Doran, Michael, Legislative Entrenchment and Federal Fiscal Policy (February 5, 2018). Law and Contemporary Problems, 2018, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3118298

Michael Doran (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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