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J. Keith Kennedy
Staff Director/ Clerk of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms

“The appropriations process one way or another affects everything the government does,” commented J. Keith Kennedy on his unprecedented three tours of duty as staff director and chief clerk for the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee handles all federal spending, an annual function that has made it one of the largest, most powerful and prestigious of Senate committees. When Kennedy first became staff director in 1981 there were 79 members of the committee’s staff; and when he retired in 2006, the staff had risen to 125. The complex system of appropriating, shared by the Senate and House, and subject to presidential veto, stimulated much controversy during the 1980s and 1990s, from massive federal deficits, to a temporary shut down of the federal government, to an increasing tendency of legislators to “earmark” appropriations for specific projects. Kennedy’s oral history offers his unique perspective on this process and the sparring between the legislative and executive branches.

Table of Contents:
1) Meeting Mark Hatfield,1-20
2) The Senate Appropriations Committee,21-40
3) The Appropriations Process,41-64
4) The Reagan Era,65-80
5) The Government Shut Down,81-99
6) Inside and Outside the Senate,100-120
7) A Return to Regular Order,121-135
Full Transcript
Keith Kennedy
Citation:  Scholarly citation: "J. Keith Kennedy: Staff Director/Clerk of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Deputy Senate Sergeant at Arms,” Oral History Interviews, August 5, 2003, to July 22, 2008, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

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