Budget Resolution (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Budget Resolution

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Legislation in the form of a concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget, but not requiring the president’s signature. The budget resolution establishes various budget totals, divides spending totals into functional categories (e.g., transportation), and may include reconciliation instructions to designated House or Senate committees.

A concurrent resolution adopted by both houses of Congress as part of the annual budget and appropriations process, setting forth an overall budget plan for Congress against which individual appropriations bills, other appropriations, and revenue measures are to be evaluated. As a plan for Congress, the resolution is not presented to the President for signature and does not have the force of law. Pursuant to § 301 of the Congressional Budget Act, as amended (2 U.S.C. § 632), the resolution is expected to establish, for at least 5 fiscal years beginning on October 1 of the year of the resolution, appropriate levels for the following:

  • totals of new budget authority and outlays
  • total federal revenues
  • the surplus or deficit in the budget
  • new budget authority and outlays for each major functional category
  • the public debt
  • outlays and revenues for Social Security insurance programs


The concurrent resolution generally contains budget levels for the next 5 fiscal years and may contain reconciliation instructions to specified committees. The concurrent resolution most recently adopted may be revised or affirmed before the end of the year to which it applies, as provided in section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act, as amended (2 U.S.C. § 635).

In assisting the Budget Committees in preparing the annual congressional budget resolution, the Congressional Budget Office prepares economic forecasts and projections, baseline budget projections, an analysis of the president’s budget, and policy options.


Also see Budget Deficit / Budget Surplus; Congressional Budget Act; Function, Reconciliation; Supplemental Appropriation; § Chapter Seven, Legislating in Congress: Federal Budget Process, in Congressional Deskbook.

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Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide


Congressional Deskbook: The Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Congress


Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: Citizen Advocacy in State Legislatures and Congress: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates


The Federal Budget Process: A description of the federal and congressional budget processes, including timelines

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