The Challenge of Federal Budget Reform [POLICYbrief]
Articles,  Blog

The Challenge of Federal Budget Reform [POLICYbrief]

The last time the budget process as outlined
by the 1974 Budget Act was done by design and on time, that is, regular order, was 1995. Normal today are continuing resolutions or
major omnibus packages and constant threats of a government shutdown. That’s not what the framers intended. It’s not what we should be doing, so we’re
going to have to enact some changes to that process in order for it to work for the American
people. So in 1974, it was determined by the Congress
that it needed a more defined process, a process that, that could somewhat guarantee that the
funding of the government could actually take place. And that’s the blueprint that we’ve been operating
on now for over 40 years, that 1974 Budget Act. So budgets are visionary documents. They’re, in many cases today, messaging documents
for the party in power. Appropriations are what actually fund the
inner workings of government that we deal with on an annual basis. But the budget resolution is designed to take
the, the total budget picture, both mandatory and discretionary spending, and calculate
based on certain baselines and economic outlooks, what spending is gonna look like not only
in a given year, but in a ten-year budget window. Appropriations are the dollars out of the
federal budget that go to fund what we call the discretionary programs of government,
which is the government that is closest to the people. It’s how we fund national security. It’s how we fund the National Institute of
Health. It’s how we fund national parks. If you can’t agree to spending levels in a
given appropriations year, uh, then often times you will revert to the CR, the continuing
resolution, which is merely a snapshot of the funding from the previous approved budget
and appropriations legislation. The problem with continuing resolutions, you
are basically funding the government and those programs based on priorities from previous
years, and not the current, urgent needs of the country. Omnibus spending packages happen as a result
of Congress’ inability to move 12 different appropriations bills through both chambers
of Congress. Part of the problem is the calendar. Part of the problem is the fact that because
of the uniqueness of the Senate rules, it is very difficult, at least in contemporary
memory, to be able to move 12 individual appropriations bills across the floor of the Senate, uh,
so that they can ready to go to conference with the House. Probably the most noteworthy problem about
the way the process works today is that too many times the decisions about how much we’re
going to spend on these programs, discretionary programs, is kicked up to leadership. That the Congress can’t decide, and so because
we’re running out of time, we ask the majority and minority leaders of both the House and
the Senate to meet, maybe engage the White House, and see if a handful of people sitting
at a table can come up with those numbers with which the Congress can go ahead and write
their appropriations bills. That’s not the way this process was designed. Saving this country from itself is gonna require
political will and political courage, because there are gonna be some tough choices ahead
for us to right this ship in terms of the fiscal glide path that we’re on today.


  • anita hinojosa-wells

    The Budget should start with {~We The People~}
    We The People Voted our Representative in to work for us!
    Some where between our House, Senate, prezodent and all the Corporations, Privatized Organizations, , Donors, & Oligarchs are getting their funding and those @ the Voting Level are at the bottom of the list!

    Why is it on a Federal Shut Down are all of those at the Top getting a pay-check?

    People that live pay-check to pay-check are hit the hardest!

    After WW2 our Government Taxed the Wealthiest to take care of the neediest, and now it’s the complete opposite!
    Now the Privatized Organization’s, the Manipulator ‘s Of Our House, Senate, White House come before{~We The People~}

    When will we stand with OCA and Bernie Sanders to make our Country successful and take care of the neediest people we have??

    The Establishment {~War Machine~} is so Corrupt that we need to fire every single Representative that has been in Washington DC for more that 2 Terms and get Privatized Companies OUT OF GOVERNMENT!
    Open minded people who are affected by this Shut Down need to take to the
    {~>STREETS<~} and take our cash out of the Banks…
    De-Fund Wall Street
    Walk off all Federal J O B’s
    Stop paying Insurance, Don’t pay for fuel, only buy from privately owned businesses!

    For those of us who are sick with cancer like me and have worked all of our lives to Retire in some comfort, We need to stand with the young, Educated, that understand exactly what this Government has become and let them take our Government back so
    {~We The People~} will Once Again have a ** VOICE*& **Vote* that counts!

    Wear your
    And take to the streets for our ~>RIGHTS<~ before Djt caves our country into a Russian Bot!

    I’m Sick and weak and ready to fight for our country!
    How about you All????

  • Theodore McCarthy

    47% of White Americans polled in 2017 agreed withe the statement "White people are under attack in this country"
    6 out of 7 Republicans polled in 2018 agreed with the statement "This country puts minorities above whites"

    The dysfunction and paralysis in our government is not a product of procedural problems. We are polarized on the basis of race and no one in the political leadership has the moral courage or intellectual integrity to even acknowledge the nature of the crisis..

  • TheOtherBrother Darrell

    Well done Congressman. Easy to understand and infuriating as well. Congress is not doing its job! Term limits. It's the only way to save our republic!!!

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