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Delaying the Buck: Timing and Strategic Advantages in Executive-Legislative Bargaining over Appropriations

  • Author(s): Anderson, SE
  • Woon, J
  • et al.

Delay is a common feature of appropriations politics. Although members of Congress and the president often decry lengthy delays in the passage of appropriations bills, we investigate whether such delays might confer strategic advantages, and if so, to whom. We draw from bargaining theory to understand how the relationship between the duration of negotiations and outcomes depends on the underlying distribution of bargaining power and the nature of the bargaining process. In our empirical analysis, we find that delay is associated with greater concessions to the president, but not with more extreme outcomes. We also find that the House and Senate concede more to presidents who prefer less spending, while the Senate is more responsive to presidential needs during presidential election years. These results suggest that the president's power comes from the asymmetry of veto and proposal rights, rather than from symmetric bargaining with proposals and counterproposals or a "war of nerves.". © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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