Federal Grants to State and Local Governments: An Historical Perspective on Contemporary Issues [April 15, 2014] [open pdf - 500KB]
"The federal government is expected to provide state and local governments more than $607 billion in federal grants in FY2014, funding a wide range of public policies, such as health care, transportation, income security, education, job training, social services, community development, and environmental protection. Federal grants account for about one-third of total state government funding, and more than half of state government funding for health care and public assistance. […] This report provides an historical synopsis of the evolving nature of the federal grants-in-aid system, focusing on the role Congress has played in defining the system's scope and nature. It begins with an overview of the contemporary federal grants-in-aid system and then examines its evolution over time, focusing on the internal and external factors that have influenced congressional decisions concerning the system's development. It concludes with an assessment of the scope and nature of the contemporary federal grants-in-aid system and raises several issues for congressional consideration, including possible ways to augment congressional capacity to provide effective oversight of this system."
CRS Report for Congress, R40638