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5 Things You Need to Know About the Budget

by Countable | 10.18.17

This week the Senate is debating amendments to the Republican budget resolution for fiscal year 2018, with a final passage vote expected Friday. The congressional budgeting process can be confusing and difficult to follow, so here are five things you need to know about the budget resolution:

  1. It’s Non-Binding: Budget resolutions are introduced as concurrent resolutions, which means that while both chambers of Congress can vote on them, they don’t go to the president’s desk to become law. All of the funding outlined and policy proposals included have to be legislated separately with funding provided through the appropriations process. This means that a budget resolution is really more of a blueprint than a concrete budget.

  2. It Allows For the Use of Reconciliation: Perhaps the most substantive aspect of the budget resolution is that it lets Congress designate legislation that can be considered using reconciliation, under which a bill can pass the Senate with a simple majority. This year’s budget resolution allows reconciliation to be used for tax reform and deficit reduction, while fiscal year 2017’s was used for the failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare using reconciliation.

  3. It’s Not the President’s Budget: While the president is required to submit a budget proposal to Congress each year at the start of the budgeting process, budget resolutions are created by the House and Senate Budget Committees and are distinct from the president’s proposal. (Read more about President Trump’s budget here at Countable and check out related resources at USAFACTS.)

  4. It’s Late, But That’s Typical: The Congressional Budget Act established a timetable that expects both chambers of Congress to complete their consideration of the budget resolution by April 15 each year — well in advance of the start of the corresponding fiscal year on October 1 so they can work on appropriations bills. However, Congress rarely meets that deadline. Work on the 2017 budget resolution wasn’t completed until January 2017, three months after the fiscal year began. If the Senate passes the budget resolution this week it will come nearly three weeks into fiscal year 2018. (The chronic lateness is why Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the No Budget, No Pay Act, which would withhold congressional paychecks if lawmakers are late approving a budget.)

  5. It Doesn’t Actually Fund the Government: Not to belabor the point, but despite its name the budget resolution itself doesn’t provide any funding. The federal government is currently funded through December 8, 2017 thanks to a short-term spending deal reached September 8th. The stopgap funding is intended to give the Senate more time to consider the $1.23 trillion omnibus appropriations package for fiscal year 2018, which the House passed September 14th.

Tell your reps what you think of this year’s budget resolution and the congressional budget process in general using the Take Action button and join the conversation in the comments below.

— Eric Revell

RELATED READING

The GOP Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 and Using Reconciliation for Tax Reform and Deficit Reduction

The $1.23 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill for Fiscal Year 2018

No Budget, No Pay: Holding Congressional Paychecks When They Can’t Agree On a Budget

(Photo Credit: kaarsten / iStock)

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(59)
  • Judith
    10/18/2017
    ···

    THE FIVE THINGS ABOUT THE BUDGET WITH THIS MONSTER RAPIST HATER IN CHIEF IN POWER IS, 1, IT'S F$CKED 2, IT'S F$CKED 3,IT'S F$CKED 4, IT'S F$CKED AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST 5, IT'S F$CKED !!!!!! GET THAT MONSTER OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE !!!

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  • R. ben
    10/18/2017
    ···

    So let me get this straight, it's basically a piece an English college essay that is late, that says, " here is what we would like to see happen". We need a bill that with a new tax code, the end of Obamacare and the creation of jobs, benefits the country. Not lavishing spending on things that don't benefit other than the corrupt in power.

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  • Cj
    10/18/2017
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    As a Nevadan I can truthfully say that Heller probably had good intentions for his no budget no pay act. I can also truthfully say that this is a really bad idea. If you rush to get something done you just get a rush job. Congress has had more than ample time to put together a thoughtful, logical, cost-effective budget. Instead we get recommendations to do really stupid things to “save” money. One such example is the recommendation by Zinke, Stewart and Amodei to kill nearly 100k healthy wild horses and burros both in holding and in the wild. Why, you ask. Well, decades of mismanagement by the BLM of “managing” herd sizes, logically, by using a proven method of birth control is not even considered an option. Instead families, bands and herds are “gathered” using paid contractors in helicopters. This results in injury and death and a lifetime of captivity for these icons of the American West. The cost for one animal in holding, over the lifetime of the animal, is nearly $48,000.00. The cost of the PZP injection, the proven method of birth control, is $1.00. There, of course, would be some costs involved in darting the mares, but not nearly even a fraction of the cost of holding the animals.

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  • Mancos
    10/18/2017
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    Here’s my question. How will this budget and Trumps effort to revise the tax code benefit my pension plan? So far the only commodity I see gaining in anticipation of tax reductions are the banks. Again, this budget proposal is all about how the rich can get richer. BTW, is the GOP really attaching drilling in the Arctic to this piece of legislation?

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  • Pat
    10/18/2017
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    The passing with reconciliation is not fair. We need to return to regular order. The house only introduces bills that the majority of republicans can pass without democrats. This reconciliation eliminated the 60 vote majority. The budget will increase the deficit. Trickle down economics never work. The elimination of real estate and state income taxes could collapse housing market. It is not a break for lower income and middle class families. It is a proposal based on guesses. That is not acceptable. Yet again the middle and lower income Americans bear the cost for corporations and the highest income bracket. It appears to not be deficit neutral and let’s down most Americans.

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  • Robert j.
    10/18/2017
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    Why not on time? Perhaps a few more working days would help.

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  • Walter
    10/18/2017
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    I’m liking the Senator Dean Heller “No Budget, No Pay” Act. Sets a useful priority for our lawmakers.

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  • Carol
    10/19/2017
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    First, Judith is CORRECT in both her comments. It is democratic admins that REDUCE debt and deficit, and repubs who do NOT. http://zfacts.com/p/1195.html. And it is dem. admins that produce many times the jobs as repubs. Economic growth NEVER starts from the 'top' of the food chain, but from the bottom. Just like we must have plankton and Krill in the ocean in healthy amounts so that all other sea life thrives, including the great whales. Second, SOME debt is no problem so long as we HONOR the debt, which keeps our dollar as the worlds' monetary measure. Lastly, we must clear dark money, election fraud, gerrymandering and the electoral college from our system to restore voter confidence, and THEN we could actually be the ones MAKING THE CHOICE of who represent us. We shook the worlds' confidence with G.W. Bush, and now we have quite possibly DESTROYED it with the mentally deranged criminal and traitor now speaking, ranting, tweeting, in our names.

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  • Gail
    10/19/2017
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    We need regular order! We need Republicans & Democrats to WORK TOGETHER to have a more balanced approach and a 60 votes margin for approval! This budget as it stands now is harsh and inhumane! I pray to God that Senators like John McCain, Susan Collins and others will see what this budget will do to their States especially after the disasters we have had in this Country over the last few months and vote NO! QUIT PLAYING PARTISAN POLITICS!!BRING US BACK TO REGULAR ORDER & a MORE BALANCED approach!

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  • Chester
    10/18/2017
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    We need a balanced budget bill passed! $20 Trillion in debt is unacceptable. Obama needs to be in Prison for adding $10 Trillion to our debt. Too many entitlement programs!

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  • Judith
    10/18/2017
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    The last time we had a budget surplus a Clinton was in the White Hpuse. We had a chance to have another Clinton with a chance for the same, but we blew it! So quit yer bit chin

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  • Brandon
    10/18/2017
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    Praying

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  • Kathleen
    10/18/2017
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    We all need to pray for Judith, she has no respect for herself

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  • Terry
    10/18/2017
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    Non binding is another useless effort by the do nothing Congress.

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  • Justin
    10/18/2017
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    How will this, genuinely, benefit the American people?

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  • Maureen
    10/19/2017
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    I don’t think they should pass this budget as it will increase our debt ! The rich already have more money then the majority of working people and they won’t put anymore money in to the economy! We need money to put into our infrastructure , crumbling roads , transportation , etc so no they should NOT pass this budget!

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  • L
    10/18/2017
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    What's the point of non binding? Let's reduce the number of vacations and the length of the vacations congress takes. Maybe they'd actually accomplish things in a timely fashion.

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  • Denise
    10/18/2017
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    It also clears the path for roads and pipelines in the Artic Wilderness Wildlife Refuge.

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  • Thelma
    10/19/2017
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    No to reconciliation! It sounds nice, but it means the democrats can be ignored. This is taxation without representation! No no no!

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  • Sean
    10/19/2017
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    This is nothing more than a tax break for the richest and big corporations. It’s disgusting.

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