The Budget Reconciliation Process

Reconciliation legislation is used by Congress to bring existing revenue and spending law into conformity with the policies in a budget resolution. Reconciliation is an optional process, but since 1980, Congress has used reconciliation legislation to implement many of its most significant budget policies.
The reconciliation process has two stages–the adoption of reconciliation directives in the budget resolution and the enactment of reconciliation legislation that implements changes in revenue or spending laws.
Reconciliation is used to change the amount of revenues, budget authority, or outlays generated by existing law. In a few instances, reconciliation has been used to adjust the public debt limit. On the spending side, the process focuses on entitlement laws, but it may not be used to impel changes in Social Security law.


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