NTU: Where’s the Budget?

Jordan Forbes

May 19, 2010

As many of you know, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 was passed in an effort to establish an annual adoption of a concurrent resolution to serve as a framework for the congressional budget process.  

Here’s a quick breakdown of that process:

  1.   President submits his budget the first Monday in February.
  2.   Congressional committees have six weeks to draft their “views and estimates” on spending and revenues within their jurisdictions.
  3.   House and Senate Budget Committees use that information to offer a resolution to their respective chambers by April 15.
  4.   Congress votes on the budget resolution.

Well, that’s how the process usually works. This year, we are yet to see a budget even considered by the House or Senate. They can blame it on whatever they want (we all know the real reason: election year!), but it is simply irresponsible to continue to pass monumental pieces of spending legislation with no budget outline in place. Is the budget resolution binding? No. But, it is very important. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) explains it best in their primer, the Congressional Budget Process: A Brief Overview:

“Although it does not have the force of law, the budget resolution is a central part of the budget process in Congress. As a concurrent resolution, it represents an agreement between the House and Senate that establishes budget priorities, and defines the parameters for all subsequent budgetary actions.”

Politico’s Jonathan Allen says that a congressional budget is similar to a family budget. Can you spend without one? Sure. But, it’s a lot easier to be reckless with that spending because enforced discipline (without a financial plan) is virtually impossible.

Moreover, this political stunt is unprecedented. According to Allen and CRS, Congress failed to adopt a final budget four times in the past 35 years – 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007 – but this could be the first time, since passage of the Budget Act in 1974, that the House fails to pass a first version of a budget resolution.

You deserve more – it’s your money! Call your Representative and Senators. Tell them a budget is essential if they want to rein in spending and restore fiscal responsibility in Washington.  

Reposted from The National Taxpayers Union