Handing Congress a Hot Potato

The Supreme Court nullifies a key budget-balancing provision

Before it was even enacted it was something of a joke, laughingly likened to the girl who, unable to say no, buys a chastity belt and throws away the key. In December, Congress passed, and President Reagan signed into law, the Gramm- Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. Cast as an amendment to a measure raising the U.S. debt ceiling above $2 trillion, Gramm-Rudman was the sugarcoating to help embarrassed Congressmen swallow that gargantuan figure. The law required that annual federal deficits, now hovering at the $200 billion level, be reduced in stages to zero by 1991....

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