Cyclopedia of Congressional Budget Law

Historical Note on the Fazio Exception

Fazio Exception: Senate’s Proposal to Repeal

The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 was revised in 1987 to address constitutional objections by the Supreme Court to  issues having nothing to do with the enforcement of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Still, section 222 of the Senate-reported version of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987 (Pub. L. 100-119) would have repealed the “Fazio Exception”. The House did not accept the certainly well-intentioned proposal from the Senate (where it does not apply) and the section was dropped in conference. From the Joint Explanatory Statement of Managers:  

2. Enforcement of Spending and Deficit Levels in Budget Resolutions
Current Law

The budget resolution adopted each year by Congress sets aggregate spending and revenue levels for the next three fiscal years. Congress enforces the spending and revenue aggregates in the budget resolution largely through points of order established in Title III of the 1974 Budget Act.

Under Section 311(a) of the Act, spending or revenue legislation may not be considered in the House or Senate if it would cause the aggregate levels in the budget resolution to be breached, or, in the Senate only, if it would cause the maximum deficit amount for the fiscal year to be exceeded. However, Section 311(b) provides an exception, in the House only, to this point of order – the “Fazio exception” – which permits the House to consider spending legislation that violates aggregate spending levels in the budget resolution so long as the new discretionary budget authority or entitlement authority provided in the measure is within the appropriate committee’s allocation of spending under the budget resolution.

Senate Amendment

The Senate amendment (Section 222) repeals Section 311(b) of the Act, the Fazio exception, and amends Section 311(a) to establish in the House the point of order against legislation that would cause the maximum deficit amount for the fiscal year to be exceeded.

Conference Agreement

The Senate recedes from its amendment.

U.S. Congress, Joint Explanatory Statement of  the Committee of Conference on the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987, House Ways and Means Committee, H. Rept. 100-313, 100th Congress, 1s sess, September 21, 1987,  p. 63.

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