A deeming resolution is an Act by one chamber of Congress that applies budgetary rules that take the place of a budget resolution. Though the term here used is “resolution”, these have taken the form of statutory language.
The concurrent resolution on the budget for a fiscal year reflects an agreement between the House of Representatives and Senate on a budgetary plan for the upcoming fiscal year. When the House and Senate do not reach final agreement on this plan, it may be more difficult for Congress to reach agreement on subsequent budgetary legislation, both within each chamber and between the chambers.
In the absence of agreement on a concurrent resolution on the budget, Congress may employ alternative legislative tools to serve as a substitute for such a concurrent resolution. These substitutes are typically referred to as “deeming resolutions”, because they are deemed to serve in place of an annual budget resolution for the purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels and enforcement procedures for the upcoming fiscal year.
Since the establishment of concurrent resolutions on the budget in 1974, there have been nine years in which Congress did not come to agreement on a budget resolution. In each of those years, one or both chambers employed at least one deeming resolution to serve as a substitute for a budget resolution. At certain times, limited deeming resolutions have been adopted while budget resolutions were being finalized.
An informal term that refers to a resolution or bill passed by one or both houses of Congress that in the absence of a concurrent resolution, serves for the chamber passing it as an annual budget resolution for purposes of establishing enforceable budget levels for a budget cycle. The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 requires the adoption each year of a concurrent resolution on the budget. (See Concurrent Resolution on the Budget.)
At a minimum, deeming resolutions provide new spending allocations to the appropriations committees, but they also may set new aggregate budget levels, provide revised spending allocations to other House and Senate committees, or provide for other related purposes. A deeming resolution may even declare that a budget resolution (in its entirety), passed earlier in the session by one house is deemed to have the force and effect as if adopted by both houses.