Although acknowledging that "Gramm-Rudman-Hollings " was enacted "to meet a national fiscal emergency . . . of unprecedented magnitude," in Bowsher v. Synar the Supreme Court nevertheless declared its key provision unconstitutional.

Section 251 of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings directed the Comptroller General to prepare a report to the President and Congress specifying program-by-program budget reductions necessary to prevent the deficit for the coming fiscal year from exceeding the maximum permitted by the statute. Seven justices agreed that this provision violates the Constitution.

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