Outlays, because they represent actual cash flow, help determine the size of the overall deficit or surplus. In both the House and Senate, the Appropriations Committee receives a single a allocation for all of its programs. It then decides on its own how to divide this funding among its 12 subcommittees, creating what are known as b sub-allocations. Similarly, the various committees with jurisdiction over mandatory programs each get an allocation that represents a total dollar limit on all of the legislation they produce that year.
Unless it changes an entitlement program such as Social Security or Medicare , authorizing legislation does not actually have a budgetary effect. For example, the education committees could produce legislation that authorizes a certain amount to be appropriated on the Title I education program for disadvantaged children. However, none of that money can be spent until the annual Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill — which includes education spending — sets the actual dollar level for Title I funding for the year, which is frequently less than the authorized limit.
Often the report accompanying the budget resolution contains language describing the assumptions behind it, including how much it envisions certain programs being cut or increased. These assumptions generally serve only as guidance to the other committees. The budget resolution can also include temporary or permanent changes to the congressional budget process. Following adoption of the budget resolution, Congress considers the annual appropriations bills, which are needed to fund discretionary programs in the coming fiscal year, and legislation to enact changes to mandatory spending or revenue levels as specified in the budget resolution.
In some recent years, this point of order has not been particularly important in the House because it can be waived there by a simple majority vote on a resolution developed by the leadership-appointed Rules Committee, which sets the conditions under which each bill will be considered on the floor. However, the budget point of order is important in the Senate, where any legislation that exceeds a committee's spending allocation — or cuts taxes below the level allowed in the budget resolution — is vulnerable to a budget point of order on the floor that requires 60 votes to waive.
Congress has seldom completed action on the budget resolution by the April 15 target date specified in the Budget Act, and it failed to complete action on a resolution for fiscal years , , , , each year from through , and Such deeming resolutions typically provide spending allocations to the Appropriations Committees but may serve a variety of other budgetary purposes.
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Unless the House or Senate agrees to such a deeming resolution, the multi-year revenue floors and spending allocations for mandatory programs that had been agreed to in the most recent budget resolution remain in effect. The Bipartisan Budget Act of did the same for the Senate for fiscal year And the Bipartisan Budget Act of did the same for both chambers for fiscal years and Appropriations bills or amendments to them must fit within the a allocation given to the Appropriations Committee as well as the committee-determined b sub-allocations for the coming fiscal year.
Entitlement bills or any amendments offered to them must not exceed the budget resolution's allocation for the applicable committee and must not cause revenues to fall below the revenue floor, both in the first year and over the total multi-year period covered by the budget resolution. This procedure was originally designed as a deficit-reduction tool, to force committees to produce spending cuts or tax increases called for in the budget resolution. However, it was used to enact tax cuts several times during the George W. Bush Administration and again under the Trump Administration in , thereby increasing projected deficits.
If Congress intends to use the reconciliation procedure to cut taxes or increase mandatory spending, the budget resolution would also need to set aside either or both of the independent House and Senate rules mentioned in the prior section. In addition, the Byrd rule bars any entitlement increases or tax cuts that cost money beyond the five or more years covered by the reconciliation directive, unless other provisions in the bill fully offset these "out-year" costs.
If Congress does not complete action on an appropriations bill before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, it must pass, and the President must sign, a continuing resolution CR to provide stopgap funding for affected agencies and discretionary programs. A dispute over delay or defunding of health reform legislation between President Obama and congressional Republicans led to a day shutdown of ordinary government operations beginning October 1, When the House and Senate do not reach final agreement on this plan, it may be more difficult for Congress to reach agreement on subsequent budgetary legislation, both within each chamber and between the chambers.
In the absence of agreement on a budget resolution, Congress may employ alternative legislative tools to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. Since the creation of the budget resolution, there have been 10 years in which Congress did not come to agreement on a budget resolution. In each of those years, one or both chambers employed at least one deeming resolution to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. While referred to as deeming resolutions, such mechanisms are not formally defined and have no specifically prescribed content.
Instead, they represent the House and Senate, often separately, engaging legislative procedures to deal with enforcement issues on an ad hoc basis. As described below, the mechanisms can vary significantly in content and timing. This report covers the use of deeming resolutions pertaining to fiscal years for which the House and Senate did not agree on a budget resolution. While neither the House nor Senate have yet adopted a budget resolution for FY, they may still do so. These substitutes are typically referred to as "deeming resolutions," because they are deemed to serve in place of an annual budget resolution for the purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Congressional Budget Act of hereinafter referred to as the Budget Act created the budget resolution and specifies that it be adopted annually. The budget resolution does not become law; therefore no money is spent or collected as a result of its adoption. Instead, it is meant to assist Congress in considering an overall budget plan.
Once agreed to by both chambers in the exact same form, the budget resolution creates parameters that may be enforced in two primary ways: 1 by points of order, and 2 by using the budget reconciliation process. Once the budget resolution has been agreed to by both chambers, certain levels contained in it are enforceable through points of order. This means that if legislation is being considered on the House or Senate floor that would violate certain levels contained in the budget resolution, a Member may raise a point of order against the consideration of that legislation.
Points of order can be raised against bills, resolutions, amendments, or conference reports. If such a point of order is raised against legislation for violating levels in the budget resolution, the presiding officer makes a ruling on the point of order based on estimates provided by the relevant Budget Committee. Points of order are not self-enforcing, meaning that if no Member raises a point of order, a chamber may consider and pass legislation that would violate levels established in the budget resolution. In addition, either chamber may waive the point of order. The process for waiving points of order, and the number of Members required to waive points of order, varies by chamber.
Generally, such points of order can be waived in the House by a simple majority of Members 3 and in the Senate by three-fifths of all Senators. The Budget Act also requires that the aggregate amounts of spending recommended in the budget resolution be allocated among committees.
The Budget Act requires that the House and Senate Appropriations Committees subdivide their allocations by subcommittee and report these sub-allocations to their respective chambers. While the Budget Act requires that the budget resolutions include the levels described above, it does not require that all of these levels be enforceable by points of order.
Some levels in the budget resolution are, therefore, included only for informational purposes. Budgetary levels that are enforceable include spending and revenue aggregates and committee spending allocations. The Budget Act prohibits the consideration of 1 any measure that would cause spending to exceed levels in the budget resolution, 6 or 2 any measure that would cause total revenue levels to fall below the levels in the budget resolution.
While points of order can be effective in enforcing the budgetary goals outlined in the budget resolution, they can be raised against legislation only when it is pending on the House or Senate floor. This can be effective for legislation such as appropriations measures, which typically provide funding for one year and are therefore considered on the House and Senate floor annually. Points of order cannot, however, limit direct spending or revenue levels resulting from current law. In this situation, Congress seeks to reconcile the levels of direct spending and revenue resulting from existing law with those budgetary levels expressed in the budget resolution.
To assist in this process, the budget reconciliation process allows special consideration of legislation that would accomplish those budgetary levels expressed in the budget resolution. If Congress intends to use the reconciliation process, reconciliation directives also referred to as reconciliation instructions must be included in the annual budget resolution. These directives instruct individual committees to develop and report legislation that would change laws within their respective jurisdictions related to direct spending, revenue, or the debt limit.
Once a specified committee develops legislation, the reconciliation directive may direct it to report the legislation for consideration in its chamber or submit it to the Budget Committee to be included in an omnibus reconciliation measure. Such reconciliation legislation is then eligible to be considered under special expedited procedures in both the House and Senate. When the House and Senate do not reach final agreement on this plan, the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year may become complicated.
Without an agreement on budgetary parameters, it may be more difficult for Congress to reach agreement on subsequent budgetary legislation, both within each chamber and between the chambers.
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If Congress agreed upon a budget resolution for the prior fiscal year, that resolution remains in effect and may provide some operative parameters, since a resolution includes multi-year enforceable levels. Since a committee allocation to the Appropriations Committee is made for only the upcoming fiscal year, the House and Senate cannot rely on a prior year's budget resolution. This means that there is no allocation of spending made to the Appropriations Committees and no formal basis for them to make the required spending sub-allocations.
Without agreement on a budget resolution, Congress also may not use the budget reconciliation process. This means that any budgetary changes to revenue or mandatory spending may not be considered under the special expedited procedures provided by the budget reconciliation process. The Budget Act sought to require adoption of a budget resolution before Congress could consider budgetary legislation for the upcoming year. Under Section a of the Budget Act, the House and Senate generally may not consider spending, revenue, or debt limit legislation for a fiscal year until the budget resolution for that fiscal year has been adopted.
The Budget Act provides for exceptions, however, and in addition allows the point of order to be waived in both chambers by a simple majority. In the absence of a budget resolution, other budget enforcement mechanisms are available to Congress comprising two general categories. First, there are types of budget enforcement that are entirely separate from the budget resolution, such as chamber rules and statutory spending caps.
These mechanisms remain in effect in the absence of a budget resolution and place restrictions on certain types of budgetary legislation. Second, in the absence of agreement on a budget resolution, Congress may employ alternative legislative tools to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. When Congress has been late in reaching final agreement on a budget resolution, or has not reached agreement at all, it has relied on such substitutes.
These substitutes are typically referred to as "deeming resolutions," because they are deemed to serve in place of an agreement between the two chambers on an annual budget resolution for the purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels for the upcoming fiscal year or multiple fiscal years. Employing a deeming resolution, however, does not preclude Congress from subsequently agreeing to a budget resolution. Instead, they denote the House and Senate, often separately, engaging legislative procedures to deal with enforcement issues on an ad hoc basis.
As described below, the mechanisms vary in form and function, but they always 1 include or reference certain budgetary levels e. As shown in Table 1 , since the creation of the budget resolution, dates of adoption have varied, and there have been 10 years in which Congress did not come to agreement on a budget resolution. As shown in Table 2 , in each of those years, one or both chambers employed at least one deeming resolution to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution.
It should be noted that Table 2 includes only the deeming resolutions that pertain to the fiscal years for which Congress did not agree on a budget resolution. For example, for FY, the House and Senate ultimately agreed to a budget resolution, and so data pertaining to FY is not included in this report even though the Senate utilized a deeming resolution before agreement on a budget resolution was reached. Table 1. Table 2. Source: Legislative Information Service.
Notes: While neither the House nor Senate have yet adopted a budget resolution for FY, they may still do so. Congress initially used simple resolutions as the legislative vehicle for deeming resolutions which is why they are referred to as resolutions. As shown in Table 2 , however, deeming resolutions have also been included as provisions in lawmaking vehicles, such as appropriations bills.
Questions sometimes arise regarding whether the use of an alternative legislative vehicle has any impact on the enforceability of the budgetary levels. Article I of the Constitution, however, gives each house of Congress broad authority to determine its rules of procedure. The House and the Senate may include rulemaking provisions, such as enforceable budgetary levels, in any type of legislative vehicle.
In each case, the rulemaking provisions have equal standing and effect. Under this constitutional rulemaking principle, each house has the authority to take parliamentary action that waives its own rules in certain circumstances if it sees fit. This power is not compromised by the fact that the rulemaking provision may be established in statute.
As shown in Figure 1 , timing of congressional action on deeming resolutions has varied, since deeming resolutions may be initiated any time Congress regards it as necessary. Chambers have often agreed to deeming resolutions several months after they have separately agreed to a budget resolution but have not come to agreement with each other.
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Also, chambers have agreed to a deeming resolution on the same day as agreeing to a budget resolution in situations when one chamber foresees difficulty resolving differences with the other chamber. For example, the Senate agreed to a budget resolution for FY on April 2, , and, anticipating an impasse with the House, agreed to a deeming resolution the same day. Similarly, the House passed a budget resolution for FY on May 18, , and agreed to a deeming resolution the same day.
Further, deeming resolutions have been provided for far in advance of potential action on a budget resolution.
For example, the Bipartisan Budget Act of P. Often, a chamber initiates action on a deeming resolution so that it can subsequently begin consideration of appropriations measures. In the House deeming resolutions are often included in the same resolution providing for consideration of the first appropriations measure for the upcoming fiscal year.
Just as employing a deeming resolution does not preclude Congress from subsequently agreeing to a budget resolution, it also does not preclude Congress from acting on another deeming resolution that either expands or replaces the first deeming resolution. For example, in FY the Senate agreed to a deeming resolution in April, and in October it agreed to a further deeming resolution that amended the previous deeming resolution. Likewise, the House agreed to a deeming resolution for FY in June but in December passed the Bipartisan Budget Act, which included a deeming resolution that superseded parts of the initial deeming resolution.
Figure 1. Timing of Agreement on Deeming Resolution. Notes: Asterisks denote that the information provided references the upcoming fiscal year and not the calendar year. Deeming resolutions always include at least two things: 1 language setting forth or referencing specific budgetary levels e.
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Even so, significant variations exist in their content, as shown in Table 3. Budget resolutions include budgetary levels in the form of explicit dollar amounts, and in some instances deeming resolutions have done the same. For example:. Some deeming resolutions, however, have not included the budgetary levels themselves but have incorporated them by reference, particularly in situations when that chamber has already passed a budget resolution but has not come to agreement with the other chamber.
Pending the adoption of a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year , the provisions of House Concurrent Resolution , as adopted by the House, shall have force and effect in the House as though Congress has adopted such concurrent resolution. In some cases, the deeming resolution has stated that the chairs of the House and Senate Budget Committees shall subsequently file in the Congressional Record levels that will then become enforceable as if they had been included in a budget resolution.
The committee chairs are typically directed to file particular levels, such as those consistent with discretionary spending caps or those consistent with the baseline projections of the Congressional Budget Office. For the purpose of enforcing the Congressional Budget Act of for fiscal year The Chairmen of the Committee on the Budget of the House of Representatives and the Senate shall each submit a statement for publication in the Congressional Record as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act that includes As stated above, deeming resolutions will sometimes reference a budget resolution that has been previously adopted by that chamber and will deem that budget resolution to be enforceable.
Alternatively, mechanisms may include or reference only certain levels normally included in a budget resolution. For example, in some cases deeming resolutions have included only committee allocations to the Appropriations Committee, while in other cases they have included allocations for all committees, as well as aggregate spending and revenue levels. While content has varied, deeming resolutions that have not referenced a previously passed budget resolution have typically included only levels to be enforced by points of order, such as aggregate spending and revenue levels as well as spending allocations for each committee.
Deeming resolutions generally do not include all of the levels required to be in a budget resolution by the Budget Act. For example, the Budget Act requires that the budget resolution include the corresponding deficit level and public debt level under the enforceable budgetary framework.
These have not typically been included in deeming resolutions. In addition, deeming resolutions have often included other matter, such as points of order. Table 3. Provides aggregate spending levels, aggregate revenue levels, and Social Security spending and revenue levels. Strikes the text in S. Allows the Senate Budget Committee chair to make revisions to levels in the resolution reflecting legislation enacted in the th Congress.
Includes effective date and expiration date.
References H. Provides that accounts identified for advance appropriations shall be those referred to in H. Provides estimated surplus in reference to the Contingency Fund for Additional Surpluses included in H. Provides committee allocations for Medicare, as required in H. References the conference report for S. Notes that the deeming resolution shall not be construed to engage Rule XXVII the former House rule known as the Gephardt rule that required the House clerk to engross and transmit public debt limit legislation to the Senate upon adoption of the budget resolution.