FROM THE ARCHIVES: Rep. Price Looks at 20 Years of Change in Congress (January 13, 1989)

In celebration of COSSA’s 40th anniversary, we are diving into the decades of Washington Update archives to share articles from years past that resonate with today’s news.

The Consortium held its seventh annual meeting in Washington on December 13, with representatives of its member associations and many of its affiliates… As luncheon speaker, Rep. David E. Price (D-NC), a political scientist elected to the House from North Carolina in 1986, noted that he has observed striking changes within Congress over the last 20 years. He said his comparative insights have developed from his days as a legislative aide in the late 1960s when his dissertation research provided him the opportunity to interview a third of the Senate on the topic of policy-making.

Since those days, Price said Congress has changed in many respects, the greatest of which has been its use of the budget process itself. Most notable has been the “excessive concentration on budget politics” to the exclusion of policy matters. Price used 1987 as an illustration. That year, the spending blueprint Reagan sent to the Hill “wasn’t a serious budget,” and Congress had to start over, putting a revised Gramm-Rudman spending-cap mechanism in place. The entire budgetary process was stalled, Price said, and it took the Stock Market Crash in October 1987 to bring the administration to the negotiating table…

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