The Senate Budget Committee announced today that it would mark up a budget resolution beginning on Wednesday. At press time, however, the House was still considering whether or not to go forward with a budget resolution this year.
After the official April 15 deadline passed for a finished budget resolution, The Concord Coalition strongly urged Congress not to abandon its responsibility to pass such a measure. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is forecasting baseline deficits totaling $6 trillion over ten years and $9.8 trillion in the President’s budget. In Concord’s view, abandoning the budget process in the face of large deficits as far as the eye can see would represent the height of fiscal irresponsibility.
Election years have become increasingly problematic for the budget. In 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2006 Congress failed to pass budget resolutions. However, in all but one of those years the House and Senate still managed to pass their own versions of a budget resolution. Failure to pass a budget resolution in the House would be unprecedented. The Senate has only failed in 2002.
Without a budget resolution, Congress would have no framework for imposing tough choices on the budget. It would have to resort to backdoor “deeming” resolutions to establish discretionary budget limits, which would signal a lack of commitment to multiple-year fiscal restraint. Congress would also lose the opportunity to pass deficit reduction measures through the reconciliation process, which can only be established in a joint budget resolution.