Hey everyone! My name is Kent Toland, and I am a senior studying government at Harvard University. For my paper, I will examine presidential-congressional relations through the lens of the budget. In particular, I will use case studies of the landmark budget agreements of the past 30-35 years (for instance, the Bush and Reagan tax cuts) and consider how various structural factors affect the President’s negotiation strategy. By doing so, I hope to not only gain a better understanding of the strategy a President adopts, but also why some Presidents have failed to successfully impose their will upon the budget process.
The budget is a critical battleground for the President and each member of Congress, and I hope that my analysis will provide insight into the dynamics of the continuous power struggle between the legislative and executive branches, as well as the most effective strategies the President can use in various contexts to negotiate his policy successfully with Congress and maintain a good working relationship with Congress going forward.
Over the course of this year, I’m looking forward to seeing how my research develops and learning from all of you during our time together in DC. Hope you are all having a great start to the academic year!