This page offers a description of the main page and some other commentary and reference material to aid in navigating this website, perhaps to understand why it exists.
GPO Style Manual (Government Accountability Office) 2008: While this is the style that is usually followed on the BCR, there are divergences or in some places liberties taken. For instance, often periods or commas will be found outside of quotation marks. This is purposeful, even though it is more British style in form rather than American. This is of no importance, but in legislative drafting, a very important part of the BCR’s intended purpose, where the quotation marks go is vital. Often the phrase “outside the quotes” will be used to proper reference since it indicates whether something is in a law or if it is in the text the law is amending.
Main: This is just the main page, where anything that comes to mind often ends up.
Counsel: This is the full directory of the Budget Counsel Reference — using section marks as in “§001. General” to denote various areas of the website. This is derived, or inspired, by the House Parliamentarian’s use of this format in its House Rules and Manual. Ironically, most of the Budget Law related to Congress shows up in two sections: §§1127 and 1129 (from Jefferson’s Manual 114th Congress (H. Doc. 113-181)).
Codex: This is the compilation of the major laws and rules which govern the Congressional Budget process. The name etymologically simply means “book”, but it is used in major historical legal documents. See the List of Codices to see such documents.
Lexicon: On any subject, a familiarity with the terms associated with it is essential to understand it. This is true with any use of the English language, but it is particularly true with the budget law where ordinary terms are used in very specific ways. It is the case with the legislative process in general, the parliamentary, and the legal process. Budget law lies at the confluence of all of these disciplines. This link is designed to assist with resources that will explain these terms and definitions.
Compendia: This is a page devoted to the compilations of the budget rules and laws.
Budget Resolutions: Though Congress is legally required to adopt a budget each year, requiring the agreement of both House and Senate, and to do so by April 15 of each year prior to the fiscal year to which the budget is to apply. This has not been the case and the budget process has largely collapsed as of the 115th Congress. The budget resolutions that have been agreed to, even if cobbled together from loose parts, stray materials, and questionable competence, are found here.
Reconciliation: This is an enormous topic and needs more on it for a complete rendering.
Budget Process Law Annotated: As a great Congressional institutionalist, though perhaps more accurately a Senate institutionalist, William G. Dauster worked for the Senate for many years and recently retired. As the Chief Counsel of the Senate Budget Committee, he annotated a compilation of the Budget Laws, which can be found online in PDF format. Here it is reproduced in online format, with links and cross references and few BCR notes. Though it was prepared in 1993, it still includes a great deal of important information.
GAO Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process: An extremely helpful document to have in hard copy form (rare to find though), and one can find it online in PDF format. Here it is in an online format with links and forms the basis for the Cyclopedia (see below). It is a bit dated since it was published in 2005.
Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law: This is a work in perpetual progress. Prepared by the author of this website, which is Budget Counsel Reference or BCR for short, it is based around the GAO Glossary of Terms Used in the Federal Budget Process. The term “Cyclopedia” comes from Chambers’ Cyclopaedia, which was one of the first general encyclopedias published in English, and published in 1728. Over time, hopefully this will become a useful tool in gathering accurate information for Congressional process reform.
CRS Reports: The Congressional Research Service serves Members of Congress and their staff, including committees and Congressional support agencies. These reports are not for the public, but are nevertheless invaluable in explaining issues and Congressional procedures in an objective manner. The only real flaw with CRS Reports is that they cautiously and properly protect their reputation as nonpartisan and therefore sometimes refrain from details that might be embarrassing politically in some fashion.
CBO – A Guide to Style and Usage (Congressional Budget Office) 2013: Though the Government Printing Office is used as an authority in style and usage for the Federal government, and though it is a governmental support agency, for the law as it applies in some cases, other styles are more appropriate. This is often the case in budget and parliamentarian law, and this is where the CBO style guide can be quite useful.
Encyclopedia of United States Congress: This volume includes a wide array of valuable information, though it’s not particularly oriented toward the Congressional budget process. Included in its entry on “budget terms” it includes the following: “The federal budget process is perhaps the least understood aspect of congressional politics. Indeed, the lexicon of congressional budgeting is complex and full of jargon” This is a succinct way of phrasing the case. Since the Congressional budget process, by definition, includes the workings of the U.S. Congress, this may be of assistance.
The Indigo Book (Online Style Manual): This style manual implements the same Uniform System of Citation as The Bluebook does. The scope of The Indigo Book’s coverage is roughly equivalent to The Bluebook’s. The Indigo Book covers legal citation for U.S. legal materials, as well as books, periodicals, and Internet and other electronic resources.