Budget Enforcement Act of 1997

The Budget Enforcement Act of 1997 (BEA 1997) is the short title for title X of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, and included significant amendments to the budget process embodied in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, and the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990. The BEA 1997 did not establish new procedures, or alter existing procedures, but rather reorganized and updated those that existed in those laws.

For more information on this Act, see the Budget Counsel Link: Budget Enforcement Act of 1997

CRS Report: Statutory Budget Controls in Effect Between 1985 and 2002 (July 1, 2011)

Budget Enforcement Act of 1997

In July 1997, Congress completed action on two reconciliation bills: one dealing with direct spending and the other with revenues. The reconciliation bill dealing with direct spending, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, included a separate title on budget enforcement, which is referred to as the Budget Enforcement Act of 1997 (BEA of 1997; P.L. 105-33). The bill was signed into law by President Clinton on August 5, 1997. The changes set forth in the BEA of 1997 were intended to extend existing budget enforcement procedures to ensure compliance with the multi-year budget policies established in the legislation, preserving the deficit reduction achieved in the two reconciliation bills. Statutory Budget Controls in Effect Between 1985 and 2002 Congressional Research Service 12 The BEA of 1997 extended discretionary spending limits through FY2002. The discretionary spending limits were divided into three categories for FY1998 and FY1999: defense, nondefense, and crime reduction. For FY2000, there were two discretionary spending limits: one for crime reduction and one for all other discretionary spending. For FY2001 and FY2002, there was just one overall discretionary spending limit. The BEA of 1997 also extended the PAYGO procedures to apply to legislation enacted through FY2002 although the enforcement would continue through FY2006 to ensure that future impact of the legislation would be controlled. The act also reset all existing pay-as-you-go balances to zero and excluded the savings stemming from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1997 from any PAYGO calculations to offset any future deficit increases.16 The PAYGO procedures adopted in this act were effectively terminated in December 2002 by the enactment of H.R. 5708 (107th Congress), which set all PAYGO balances to zero to prevent the occurrence of a PAYGO sequester for FY2003 and thereafter. The bill was widely supported in both the House and Senate and was signed into law on December 2, 2002, by President George W. Bush (as P.L. 107-312).


Budget Enforcement Act of 1990


Budget Estimates