Budget Process (CongressionalGlossary.com)

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Budget Process

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Congress enacted legislation in 1985 to strengthen its then-11-year-old budget process (Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974) with the goal of balancing the federal budget by fiscal year 1991. The law, called the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act but commonly known as Gramm-Rudman-Hollings for its congressional sponsors, was amended in 1987 so the federal budget would be balanced by 1993. The law established annual maximum deficit targets and mandated automatic across-the-board cuts (“sequestration“) if the deficit goals were not achieved through regular and appropriations action (See also Sequestration.)

The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law also established an accelerated timetable for presidential submission of budgets and for congressional approval of budget resolutions and reconciliation bills, two mechanism created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Budget resolutions, due by April 15 annually, set guidelines for congressional action on spending and tax measures. The resolutions are adopted by the House and Senate but are not signed by the president and do not have the force of law. Reconciliation bills, due by June 15, actually make changes in existing law to meet budget resolution goals.

In 2011 Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which, among other things, increased the debt limit and created the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

See also Budget Resolution, Reconciliation.



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