About This Place
This website is, and likely always will be, in the process of construction. That is appropriate, in a way, since an apt metaphor for describing the Congressional Budget process is a structure in constant need of repair, often neglected, sometimes patched up, always subject to quakes and storms, but a necessary edifice. It is also best to remember, to extend the metaphor, that architecture is both science and art.
The site is still messy and might be confusing for those not familiar with Congress or its way of operating. It is primarily intended for folks interested in the intricacies of the Congressional Budget process. A good deal of material can be found here, a lot more could be added, if interest is sustained. It is not a news source — nothing here will break news.
The slightly obscure words at the top of the page mean as follows:
Counsel: A list of basic categories in which most things (hopefully) will fall.
Codex: These are the laws related to the Congressional budget process. E.g. Congressional Budget Act of 1974, Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, etc.
Lexicon: Terms and definitions. The budget process is hard to understand without knowing the lingo.
Compendia: The various compilation of laws and rules that have been put out over the years.
None of this will matter, even remotely, until the current process is upgraded. If a fundamental reform of the budget process is ever seriously attempted, perhaps some of the information here may prove helpful. Unfortunately process reform hardly seems imminent. Ghandi was once asked what he thought of Western civilization. He answered: “I think it would be a good idea.” Much the same can be said of the budget process since it has seemingly broken down entirely right now.
For the the very (likely) few people who actually read this: The progress of the website really depends on whether it’s nice outside. Even so, if anyone comes across an error, large or small, of which there are many, do not hesitate to use the “contact” click to drop a note.
The two factors, complexity and the constant addition of information, conspire to inaugurate another budget aphorism: With Congressional budget reform, the more comprehensive it becomes, the less comprehensible it will be.
A great deal of information has been gathered here related to Congressional budget laws and rules. The issue area is broad, and necessitates a somewhat complex organization. If you would like to know more about this website, how it works, that kind of thing; or have the impulse to get in contact , the items below might be of some use. The Blather File is just a place random thoughts are placed, those that might fall out of the sky and just need to be tapped out somewhere.
The emphasis here is the legal foundations which underlie the budget making decisions. While the website is intended to be navigable, much like the budget process itself, it can be confusing and hard to follow. Great effort has been made to avoid this, but as with many things Congressional budget, the road to exasperation is paved with well-intended subsections.
Another paraphrase of well known saying: Dying is easy, comedy is hard, Congressional budget law is next to impossible.
Brought down to the basics, this is what the website is:
This website is intended to —
- be a reference for those interested in the Congressional budget process;
- emphasize the legal aspects without losing the larger context of Congressional action;
- avoid taking a partisan stance on the various issues that arise; and
- provide a central “reference desk” for budget-related information, if one might pardon the slight rhetorical flourish.
This website is not —
- affiliated with Congress, nor affiliated with the Federal Government;
- associated with any think tank, corporation (nonprofit or any other kind), foundation, or academic institution;
- politically opinionated, though commentary and analysis show up here and there.
An additional note: The website is kept as current as those operating it manage (a staff of thousands) but largely depends on whether it’s nice outside.