A big topic with lots of stuff on it. Still in the works — maybe it will be ready … years? Hard to tell. Yes, a budget reference website without extensive reconciliation material is not exactly comprehensive. I have put more on, but still woefully insufficient with all that is there. The latest from the Senate Parliamentarian, perhaps the most mysterious, often wrong, and unfathomable, authority on the subject has not been encouraging.
The past several reconciliation bills has shown how degraded this procedure has become. Still, for as long as it remains a way to move a bill through the Senate with a simple majority instead of getting to 60 votes, it will remain important. It should be seen as more than that, it’s history indicates a much different intent and purpose than simply a way to circumvent the filibuster.
Reconciliation and the Budget Resolution.
The House Budget Committee reported H.R. 3762, the reconciliation bill for fiscal year 2016, in October of 2015. The it was perhaps the worst report that Committee on the Budget of the House ever produced, it did include a good explanation of the relationship between reconciliation and the budget resolution. H.R. 3762, which had no formal short title since the one given to it by the House Budget Committee was stripped out later in the process and replaced by nothing, was vetoed by President Obama.
After a budget resolution has been adopted by both Houses of Congress, and hence is a valid concurrent resolution on the budget, the reconciliation instructions included therein, if any, are activated. If those instructions include directives to more than one committee, then the instructed committees must “submit” (rather than “report”) its legislative recommendations to the respective Committees on the Budget of each House.
In the House, the Budget Committee will, usually, provide the instructed committees, and if done correctly be made public, a set of “guidelines” to assist the committees with their task of complying with the instructions.
Further, guidelines are sometimes provided to committees prior to the convening of a conference committee between the House and the Senate. Below are examples of such guidelines provided in the past.
CRS – Reports from the Congressional Research Service