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Patrick Fisher, "The Prominence of Partisanship in the Congressional Budget Process," Party Politics, 5 (April 1999), 225-236.

First Paragraph:
The congressional budget process is more partisan today than it has ever been. In its struggle to establish fiscal policy and improve its control of the national budget, sharp disputes have developed in Congress on the direction of fiscal policy, especially over the deficit. This partisanship has extended to relations with the executive branch. In a large part due to the frequency of divided government in the past 3 decades, the relationship between Congress and the White House on budgetary matters has become more confrontational as Congress increasingly prefers budgetary options that the president opposes. The budget votes during the 103rd (1993/4) and 104th (1995/6) Congresses were extremely partisan, as congressional Republicans rarely supported any budget measure proposed by the Clinton administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Mean Democratic and Republican districts
Table 2: Correlation with party: House and Senate
Table 3: Correlation with party unity: the House
Table 4: Party unity and district factors: the House
Table 5; Correlation with party unity: the Senate
Table 6: Party unity and district factors: the Senate

Last Paragraph:
The parties have an important role in the creation of the budget and the presentation of what the budget entails to the American people. Political parties are needed to get through Congress a budget that makes sense from a macro-budget viewpoint. Parties are also needed to provide a sense of collective responsibility for the consequences of what is in the budget. Yet, at the same time, it is possible that extreme partisanship could polarize the congressional budget process (Koven, 1988: 127-8). The parties have the potential of being a destructive force in congressional budgeting if partisanship and political maneuvering dominate the process. The task for Congress, therefore, is to use partisanship in a manner constructive to the formation of a national budget. Given the checks and balances of the American political system, compromise is a necessary element of the congressional budget process. Partisanship is thereby a necessary component in the congressional budget process, but a component that must conduct itself within the boundaries of the American political system.