Budget Counsel Reference
Congressional Budget Process
Welcome to the Budget Counsel Reference website. The intent and design here is to facilitate greater comprehension of Congressional budget law. Of the many responsibilities of the U.S. Congress, perhaps the most essential is its power over the resources of the United States. The law governing the budget process is not a matter of accounting, but the essence of a republican form of government.
A Compendium of the Laws
For those who like actual books, a compendium of the budget laws can be obtained here:
A Compendium of the Budget Laws Annotated (116th Congress)
United States Constitution
Notes from beyond the wall
January 23, 2023
The idea that the budget and fiscal position of the United States, and how it impacts the nation as a hold, has seen something of a a spark lately. Whether that translates into a revivification of the current moribund state of this website is not clear. The opportunity to resuscitate the budget process with the change in majority in the House of Representatives may have brought positive changes, but the magnitude of those required is so daunting, optimism is likely not warranted until the picture becomes clearer. Ultimately, the collapse began before the change from Republican control to Democrat, and is the more likely timing was when Paul Ryan left the Chairmanship of the House Budget Committee. The weakness that was ushered in by Rep. David Price led to a succession of failed budget resolutions, and the transfer of the control of these measures to Leadership offices as nothing more than vehicles to generate reconciliation bills. That reversed the entire concept of budget control, and the idea of a rational approach to allocating resources by “reconciling” the statutory laws to the overall budget plan provided for in the resolution.
The budget process collapse was only part of the overall decline of actual regular order business in the House, and a severe decline in the Senate as well. The idea of the open rule was once considered the norm — 30 years ago, and that 1990 is perhaps a different age, but that allowing amendments to be freely offered by Members of Congress seems alien today shows deterioration, not progress. The 118th Congress, if it maintains the policy of waiving all points of order and structured rules, will not be an improvement.
Random thoughts from days past … collectively just called: The Blather File.
Items of Note
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877; 116th Congress)
H. Res. 6 (116th Congress)
The Joint Committee on Budget and Appropriations has a website …
Whither the Budget Committee? Wither the Budget Committee
Biennial Budgeting and the Budget as Law: An Inadvertent Trial Run
The Daft Draft: Wording and Debt Limit Language
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018
Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115-123)
Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform (BBA 2018)
H. J. Res. 128, Continuing Resolution (Expiring February 8, 2018)
H. Con. Res. 71 (FY2018 Budget Resolution)
Bad Idea: Directed Scoring Provision
Current services budget deadline missed, again
Items of Note, the List
For some background on budget process, history, and reform: Analysis: Contemplating the Congressional Budget Process
Quote: the way the future looked and looks
“2002? Who cares about 2002? Do you think any of us will still be working here then?”
Rick May, Staff Director of the House Budget Committee in 1996 when advised of the implications a particular policy might have in the (then) future of 2002.
Periodic Counsel advisory
The Periodic Counsel Advisory was a sometime explanation of budgetary matters that was sent out by the Chief Counsel of the House Budget Committee some years ago, before leaving during the 115th Congress.
Current Budget Resolution
None: Fiscal year 2020 levels have been deemed in the House, and the Senate has reported a concurrent resolution)