Legislation by appropriation


The essence of this strategy is to use the complex budget process to impose philosophical goals that would not be achievable through normal legislation.


In the USA in 1994, the House rewrote the 1972 Clean Water Act, easing pollution controls on cities and industry, exposing the Great Lakes to further degradation and offering up half the nation's valuable wetlands to developers. The bill passed by only one vote, which meant that it could not survive President Clinton's promised veto. So, to be on the safe side, the House put the same restrictive provisions in a bill providing funds for the Environmental Protection Agency – the theory being that President Clinton would not veto a money bill necessary to keep that agency in business. The US Congress has used this tactic also on other environmental issues standing alone; legislation opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling would not survive a veto. Congress therefore inserted a drilling provision in its budget reconciliation bill. Similarly, House and Senate conferees approved a spending bill that would pay for the operations of the Interior Department, but would deny that agency the ability to enforce the Endangered Species Act and control logging, mining and ranching on public lands. The most egregious example involved the national parks. After the House decisively rejected a proposal to create an independent commission to review the national parks, fearing that a commission might sell off valuable wilderness areas in the name of deficit reduction, the commission proposal was tucked into a budget reconciliation bill.

Commerce Property
Law Law
Type Classification:
F: Exceptional strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions