Budget Counsel Reference


Reference Source
for the
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

The last compilation of the budget laws and rules was published in 2015 and a new one has been overdue. “Comps” are documents that contain the up-to-date law on a particular subject and for drafting measures for Congress, or for fun, such a resource is indispensable. The budget laws are all here on this website, somewhere, but an actual book is easier to read, more convenient, and more navigable. For those who like paper, one can be obtained here:

A Compendium of the Budget Laws Annotated (116th Congress)

Notes from beyond the wall
July 23, 2019

The expected deal was unexpected in being reached so early in the year, before the August break, and without the latter looming: So the deal sounds much like the previous three in the broad outlines, though this one includes a debt ceiling increase as well. The question remains as to who is writing it, but the best bet is that it will follow the BBA2013, BBA2015, and BBA 2018 in form, though whether it will be named Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 is an open question. It does not sing, but Congress sounds silly when they try and get artsy with their bill names. 

The bill language will be the interesting thing about the bill, the actual numbers not so much: They raised the last spending limits from those set by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which is only surprising in how not surprising it is. The rest is just the gritty details, which is the fun part here.

May30, 2019

The Senate had a hearing on fixing the budget process a few weeks ago. Cynicism is easy to come by on the topic, optimism is scarce, and the need for those to be reversed is great.


Random thoughts from days past … collectively just called: The Blather File.

Items of Note

Federal Capital Revolving Fund Proposal
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

Budget Process

With a Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform established by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, those keenly aware of the overwhelming need for such reform must be encouraged. The specifics of the procedures the Committee must follow are somewhat daunting, but any start is a good start. In particular, two thing make for difficulty: The time frame is short — the Select Committee is given only until the end of the year to finish the task. The other is that not only is a majority required of its members, but a majority of both Republicans and Democrats must be in favor it. With budget reform being difficult and complex, this is a hurdle, but optimism is in order since the topic has arisen and the opportunity for success is welcome. 

For some background on the issue of budget reform, the below tractate lays out the basics:

Analysis: Contemplating the Congressional Budget Process

  Periodic Counsel Advisory
Current Budget Resolution

None: Fiscal year 2020 levels have been deemed in the House, and the Senate has reported a concurrent resolution)